Archive for the ‘Phil Collins’ Category

Live Review: Father John Misty

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Photo: Amber Bateup

There’s hella notes, all sprawled around about my Father John Misty experience, so I’ll just get right down to it. We hit up the International Beer Shop in Leederville beforehand, as this is my first Friday off from my other, less florid-prose related job, and by golly, I wanted to drink with some class, all kinds of German wheat beer (actually two kinds) and a bunch of other crap. Carey and Nic were hanging around, scrapping and spilling, sharing a game of cricket before we lost the one good tennis ball, and I cooked some simple yet effective pasta for the whole house, baked pumpkin and all. Amber prepped her camera gear, this gig is for her. We left a little late as it turns out, but on our way there we talked about our expectations if we had any, and the immortal line was coined: Father John Misty is the Phil Collins of Fleet Foxes. Besides the obvious comparison of ex-drummer cum solo guy, there’s a snakier linage that twists and turns through this: both of them left popular, faux-complex acts to make some of the best soundtracks to serial killers this side of the 80s (I’m pretty sure the next Bret Easton Ellis novel is going to be about some pasty overfed overwell white suit killing a guy with blasting Fear Fun through their earphones). Actually, the most direct thing to say would be Josh Tillman makes nice music.

Like Phil Collins. Anyway, the gardens were packed like sardines, the cool Friday evening bringing out the freaks, the geeks, the groomed and the shaggy, all together as one, all enjoying moderately priced beer and food as one entity. The second mistake: we ordered two pints at once, not wanting to move anywhere from the main deal once it began and hey, false advertising! Apologies go out to Ruby Boots for missing their set, turns out I’m as unprofessional as they come (or the fact the website stated the whole thing starts at 9.30, no mention that the support act were on an hour and a bit beforehand), so yeah, I guess this is my last assignment huh? The crowd was full and receptive as the beard and his backing band strolled out on stage, launching into first cut ‘Funtimes in Babylon’, while I was reclining on one of those nice red couches in the bleachers, the boys snagging one after some couple decided that they’d rather stay in and watch a Ben Affleck flick instead. It was obvious the man and group were in a good mood, as he joked and bantered in an understated professional way. This guy knows how to work a crowd, crooning and swooning like Jim Morrison before the meat pie, writhing like a sexy snake.

Photo: Amber Bateup

Like Phil Collins. Also, I’d like to add briefly here that although the night had cooled and a gentle breeze soothed my soul, Carey was again sweating like a coffee bean. After each song, Tillman would mutter some nonsense, one quip being some about ‘the most beautiful girl they’ve ever, seen, barfing in the dirt.’ I guess that is apt imagery for the kinds of sounds that were being produced on stage: lovely harmonies, nice guitar lines, songs with a sense of humour and whimsy, soaked in vomit. The sound as always was lovely and was on the right side of quiet and the light show was closer to Lady Gaga than the solo red light that featured at Godspeed; that is a good thing. The whole wry look at LA life and show business reminded me of Warren Zevon, if his songs were sung by the lighter, more poncy Jackson Browne, kind of like adult contemporary for the mid-twenties sort of thing. This isn’t a slight at all: if you’re inclined to travel through all the shit I’ve shat on this website, you’ll find that I made a half-convincing case for the fact that everybody needs at least one ‘70s adult contemp-singer songwriter in their lives, and Tillman has the right mix of Buckingham and Nicks and light drugs to connect with people, make lasting work that will forever remind of the times where you stumbled in some mud and talked about a Kafka novel to a Dutch stranger. The moves though were all classic rock, kicks and shines and pumps and he fucking knew: ‘this one’s free’, he says, unaware that these moves probably come as part of his performance fee. It was like he has a complete sense of awareness about the state of folk music and ‘folk’ music in the twenty-first century, and played it up with brutal effectiveness.

Photo: Amber Bateup

Like Phil Collins. As the hour neared the end of his allocated time, Tillman’s swigs of wine drew quicker and deeper, lead troubles signaling not the end but of this quote: ‘let’s fuck this pig!’ Not to boil it down to just one swear or anything, but that line is pretty much the reason why I had such a great time. Other little tidbits and ramblings: the slide playing throughout, but especially near the end of the set was great, Tillman summed up Perth in a heartbeat with some quip I can’t properly remember, the beer worked like heaps good, and the turn towards the encore signaled the only unprofessional moment of the set, that of a distorted microphone, ‘someone’s gotta help me dig’ and hell, you would’ve gotten the help of the entire crowd buddy because you were owning this shit, real. Of course, there was a forced encore, as expected I suppose, with an apparently new song called ‘Tears of the Eagle’ for as it turns out, Tillman has a keen sense of Western Australian pride, and also, sports. The second encore was kind of a rewrite of every single blues song ever written, fitting seeing as it seemed he was on a Doors trip.

Like Phil Collins. And it was the end, the lights came up, the crowd kicked its feet into almost first gear and the shuffle towards the bar began, and you know, in case it wasn’t readily apparent in this stream of self-conscious hogwash, I had a great time. Even though I originally thought Fear Fun was unremarkable, it seems to have connected with a whole bunch of people that I know, for reasons that weren’t readily apparent until I saw the songs in this context. It really was a good time, and this time spent with this charismatic troubadour was worthwhile. The sound was right, the band were tight, the company was good and the night was still young, forever pleading to continue. I guess you’d say this is an unreserved recommendation to say that the next time Father John Misty is in town, you better pay some respects and catch the sermon.

Like Phil Collins.