The second track on Father John Misty’s 2017 album “Pure Comedy” is titled “Total Entertainment Forever” which, coincidentally would be a good way to describe Father John Misty as well. When he’s not on stage he’s on social media often speaking freely and without no filter. It’s the same way he handles interviews as well as how he writes his lyrics.
Grandiose, enigmatic, egotistical, everyone seems to have their own adjective for Father John and when you get down to it, they’re all pretty accurate. Father John Misty is much like the Harvard professor with the tweed jacket and elbow patches quoting Nietzsche in casual conversation that you see in movies. But he’s certainly not the first famous musician with a large ego and self-appreciation.
But here’s the thing about him – he backs it up – better than most. Wednesday’s tour kickoff concert in Boston was all about Father John himself, with a large orchestra behind him that were mostly kept under low lights, the spotlight shined directly on him for most of his nearly two-hour set. But every minute of it was worth watching. Father John has that ‘crooner strut’ down pat, watching him onstage will invoke thoughts of artists such as Morrissey or Josh Groban. He’s almost never standing still, even while playing his acoustic guitar.
His presence fills the room, even when that room is a 5,000 seat amphitheater, the show was one of those where the people in the last row leave as satisfied as the ones in the first. Connection with his audience is a big part of Father John Misty’s act.
For the entirety of his set, most eyes in the venue were fixed on him – a rare feat in the day and age of smart phones – but he’s that majestic. Often dropping to the floor or reaching out to make contact with someone in the crowd, it’s the type of show you can’t look away from because you don’t want to miss what’s coming next.
The particular genre in which Father John Misty releases music, folk rock, is not a genre typically known for impressive stage shows. But most artists in the genre are not Father John Misty. Between his rock star stage presence and full orchestra on stage, all playing in front of video projection screen showing vibrant visuals his show brings the music to life. Alternating mostly between his last two albums, “Pure Comedy” and 2015’s “I Love You, Honeybear” between deep cuts like “Strange Encounter” and hits like “Bored in the U.S.A” he satisfied both casual and diehard fans of his music.
The crowd was into every minute, every lyric, every dance move laid down by Father John. It’s what draws people to attend concerts, to see rock stars like Axl Rose, David Lee Roth, Steven Tyler draw all the eyes to them. Father John Misty is not much different except for his use intellect in his music and lack of excessive drug use. The rock stars of yesterday were all about the fast paced life full of excess off the stage, which is not something you’ll find with Father John Misty and his music. But the as society changes, entertainment changes as well. Today, being socially conscious and intelligent is important to the demographic who listen to Father John Misty's music.
But in his presence, in the way he carries himself on stage Father John and the rock icons of the past are every bit alike. Maybe it’s just the fact that sex, drugs, and rock & roll is an outdated way of life, but he has kept the arena filling presence while skipping out on the excess. Father John Misty is what a rock icon looks like in 2017 - full of brass, brazen over the top self-confidence but without the many vices that eventually led legends of the past down dark roads.
Opening the show was Alabama jam rock band Phosphorescent, think Tedeschi Trucks Band or Allman Bros. Band. A southern rock twang accompanied by vintage keyboards is what the crowd was treated to early in the night. Phosphorescent has a real retro vibe that harkens back to the days of jam bands coming out of the south.
Father John Misty’s tour continues tonight at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY for full dates, see below.
September 14 - Port Chester, NY @ Capitol Theatre
September 15 - Philadelphia, PA @ Skyline Stage at the Mann
September 18 - Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
September 19 - Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
September 20 - Chicago, IL @ Auditorium Theatre
September 22 - St. Louis, MO @ Peabody Opera House
September 23 - Columbus, OH @ Palace Theatre
September 25 - Asheville, NC @ Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
September 26 - Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
September 27 - Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
September 29 - Austin, TX @ Bass Concert Hall
September 30 - Dallas, TX @ Bomb Factory
October 1 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
October 4 - Phoenix, AZ @ Orpheum Theatre
October 5 - San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park
October 6 - San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park
October 7 - Berkeley, CA @ Greek Theatre
October 11 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Arlington Theatre
October 12 - Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
October 13 - Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre
October 14 - Pomona, CA @ Fox Theater Pomona
Photos: Father John Misty, Phosphorescent @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion - 09.13.17: