Father John Misty @ Metropolis

Presented by Evenko

I find it hard to put into words the kind of performer Joshua Tillman is, as the showmanship throughout his hour and a half long set was indubitable like no other. He might be exactly what you would get if Mick Jagger and Elvis Presley got together and raised a folk singer. His dance moves would be best described as an ability to "move like Jagger" and never faltered as he moved across the stage, constantly squirming about. Similar to Elvis, you can hear the influence of gospel and soul music in his vocals. He preforms almost like a preacher addressing his congregation, with an ability to convey the importance of every lyric he sings, constantly doing all that he can to connect with his audience. 

Joshua Tillman, also knows as Father John Misty, played to a sold out crowd at Métropolis on April 21st. Tillman has been performing under this pseudonym since 2012, after years of bouncing around several indie bands, most notably The Fleet Foxes. His self-assigned performing moniker, however, has no religious ranking. Tillman was raised in Rockville, Maryland in Christian household attending religious-based schools. Although reports have stated how Tillman came to despise his "culturally oppressive" upbringing, you can see and hear in his performance how influential this period was. His songs have become his own religion to preach.

His set opened with "Everyman Needs a Companion", and a good variety of songs from his debut album Fear Fun, as well as his current album I Love You, Honeybear, followed. The most powerful song of the night, unsurprisingly, was "Bored in the USA". It came about halfway through the set and met a crowd that was a little too enthusiastic for Tillman's liking. This song really brings into question the unjustified expectations that come along with modern day living in North American society. Tillman attempted to do everything he could to match the delivery of the song to the deep and thought provoking lyrics it contains, however, the pause by the band and Tillman that was intended to be a dramatic silence, was filled with relentless cheers from the crowd. Even after Tillman repeatedly told everyone to "shut up" and with a last effort of "I'm serious, it will be better if you just shut up" he gave up and carried on with the song. This annoyance did not affect the rest of his performance as he jumped right back into "Holy Shit" and closed his set a few songs later with "I Love You, Honeybear".

After a few minutes of appropriately-timed obnoxious cheering, Tillman and his band took the stage once again for their encore. They started with "I Went To The Store One Day" and then, after Tillman took the time to introduced all the members of the band, performed an amazing cover of Nine Inch Nails "Animal". The last song of the night was "Awful Things" and as it finished, as if he had given us all he had, Tillman fell into his crowd of adoring fans. He even hung around for a few minutes after the rest of the band had left the stage hugging fans and taking pictures. 

Father John Misty is currently touring Europe, but he will be back in Canada on June 18th to play Toronto's NXNE festival.


-- Kerri Delaney