Go See It (Maybe Now, Definitely Later): Top 5 Reasons to See Father John Misty Live


Supporting his new release Pure Comedy, Father John Misty is opening a massive world tour right here in San Diego at Humphrey’s this Wednesday (April 12). Sold out for some time, this might be an extremely difficult ticket to score, but thankfully he will be back around in the fall primed and seasoned after a summer of global festivaling. Two dates (Oct. 5 &6) at the Observatory North Park go on sale on Friday at 10am. 

We’ve covered Father John Misty’s releases here at Monofesto in the past, but the live experience is something completely in and of itself.  A true performer, Mr. Tillman’s live act definitely makes for an evening not to be missed and not soon forgotten. Here are the top five reasons Father John Misty is a Must See.

5. “That Show”

The number five reason for seeing FJM is based upon word of mouth buzz. There are too many times to mention I have been with a group of music lovers talking concerts or at a concert where “that show” people have been talking about is FJM. They instantly go to, “That show was the best show I’ve seen in a long time” or “That show was the best I’ve ever seen.”  One young couple talked about it like how it must have been what it was like to see Dylan in the early 60s or Bowie in the 70s. The show leaves an imprint and has people talking.

4. Rants

You may get a chance to experience a true impassioned and heartfelt rant from Mr. Tillman. What makes his rants unique is that they are usually coherent, intelligent, and only slightly cliche (although aware of their own cliche matter in a meta way).  He may also steal a cell phone here and there as well; be warned. He loves to provoke.

3. Theatrics

Tillman is truly a born frontman (hard to believe he restrained himself for so long behind a kit with the Fleet Foxes).  He is a showman by all accounts, and his dramatic lyrics and song structures are brought with equal stage dramatics and bodily expression. Every song, no matter the tempo, is brought forth with demonstrable engagement and commitment to acting out every note and providing an appropriate insight into the tone of satire or frustration or elation.


2. Zeitgeist 

Although it can be argued that what he is saying has already been said before, there is no denying that Tillman is touching upon what needs to be said now. Much of the attraction to his music can be credited to the collective nerve that he is tapping. For the most part, he paints a picture of an insane society and bleak future, but he is saying what we are thinking and, more importantly,  writing melodies and songs that reflect how we are feeling in this world in the present tense.

1. Connection

It helps that most of the people that go to a FJM concert know every lyric, but what leaves people most stunned at the end of a show is his effort to connect with his audience throughout. Tillman truly embodies the purpose of shared live music, which is a chance to commune together and somehow feel more connected and hopeful at the end.  As mentioned above, it is not always a rosy view, but the emotions are so open and raw that we feel closer to our own feelings, which are honored by his nightly effort to bring the room together with a grand production that sweeps the history of sociology, philosophy, and musical genres.  Heavy stuff, but at the end of the night it feels like we are taking it on together.

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