A wiseman once said “Opinions are like assholes, everyones got one and they all think each others stink.” When this idiom first started to make the rounds Josh Tillman aka Father John Misty did not exist but one day he would be a perfect case study to test this theory. Folk Rock singer/songwriter Father John Misty has received a lot of criticism, from many different avenues, over the course of his career often times for being both open and honest with his opinions. Much of this backlash comes in the form of Misty being labeled “outspoken” or “pretentious” or as fellow musician Ryan Adams so eloquently stated “the most self important asshole on the planet”. All of these viewpoints are in fact opinions and do not hold much water. Josh Tillman was raised in an evangelical household with parents that attempted to shelter him from the evils of secular music, now in 2017 he is microdosing LSD, touring the globe and speaking his mind on everything under the sun in the form of musical expression. That is a drastic 180 and would surely cross some wires in most people. But that combination could make for some seriously interesting points of view and we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them.
Let me take a moment to say I am a huge Father John Misty fan. I have been for some time now, from his days as the drummer in Fleet Foxes and as recently as I am writing this sentence. His newest album “Pure Comedy” is a social, political and existential analysis of the state of our modern world and the humans that inhabit that reality. That being said his music is not for everyone as mentioned prior. I believe it comes down to the fact that Father John Misty is in a comfortable position of self awareness and the general public lacks self awareness so they mix like oil and water. These days we have technology at our fingertips nonstop and unfettered access to information and entertainment. We are seeing attention spans dwindling and social skills eroding. (See the FJM song Total Entertainment Forever) When a successful musician starts reminding everyone of that there is only a handful of ways they are going to respond. This is the reason that you hear that Father John Misty is an asshole, when in reality he is just handing out some tough love and hard truths. But then again this is just my opinion and we established that they can be a dime a dozen.
But I digress, The show itself was beautiful complete with vibrant visuals and even a string orchestra accompanying Father John Misty. The set was an hour and a half and spanned all 3 of his albums. The in-between moments of his shows were he says things off the cuff have become infamous and this night was pretty subdued in that department. He said “Thank you Boston. I like Boston. I don’t have anything particularly cool or interesting to say so… yeah, thank you for being here.” The crowd ate up everything they were given and didn’t even ask for an encore, not because they wanted more but because all the bases had been covered.
Phosphorescent opened the show playing music from their 2013 release Muchacho and their 2010 release Here’s To Taking it Easy. It was a perfect tone setter but it reminded me that I would love a new album from the Huntsville, Alabama Native.