U2 might be scaling 100 ft flashing walkways in their latest stage show extravaganza, but it’s not just Tron-like tech dazzlers that get our pulses racing for a gig. With a reputation for bizarre stage antics, a taste for the psychedelic and an onstage rapport that’s a cross between Renaissance pomp and five-day festival bender silliness, Father John Misty’s UK headline tour in May 2016 – his biggest to date, is a must-see. Ahead of the dates in support of his second album ‘I Love You, Honeybear’, we delve into Misty’s weird and wonderful world for a taste of what to expect.
For this tour, O2 Priority customers get tickets 48 hours before general release. Search ‘O2 Priority’ for tickets. The pre-sale starts on Wednesday October 28 at 9am.
When it comes to merch, the man otherwise known as Josh Tillman goes above and beyond the call of duty. In 2013 he released his own signature perfume, ‘Innocence by Misty’, which contained sweet orange oil and linden blossom. Alexa Chung was reportedly a fan of the fragrance.
The first album under the Father John Misty name, 2012’s psych singer-songwriter masterpiece ‘Fear Fun’, came alongside a novel etched by Tillman in the place of liner notes. Written under the influence of “enough mushrooms to choke a horse”, he paid tribute to the experience with the country-fried album track ‘I’m Writing A Novel’.
Before creating the knowing character of Father John Misty, Josh Tillman went under his own name, and released eight deep and meaningful solo albums. He also drummed with Seattle nu-Americana and folk rock saviours Fleet Foxes from 2008 until 2012.
The video for the 2012 single ‘Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings’ featured a guest spot from Parks and Recreation actor Aubrey Plaza, who brilliantly portrayed the kind of wasted woman you’d definitely regret taking along to your grandfather’s funeral.
While on tour of the US, Tillman was accompanied by a scantily clad woman wearing little more than a giant furry bunny head. “I was dressing up in lingerie with a rabbit head and sitting on the stage perfectly still, which is really fun,” explained the mystery woman, who it later transpired was Tillman’s wife, photographer Emma Elizabeth Tillman.
Father John Misty made the headlines with two Taylor Swift covers, done in the style of the Velvet Underground, mocking Ryan Adams’ own re-versioning of the pop star’s ‘1989’ album. With tongue firmly in cheek, Tillman branded his version of ‘Blank Space’: “My reinterpretation of the classic Ryan Adams album 1989.”
Father John Misty’s epic ‘Letterman’ performance of second album track ‘Bored In The USA’ should go down in rock history. Sporting a sharp suit and backed by an orchestra, he ended up writhing around on the top of a grand piano like Jarvis Cocker on Viagra.
Some bands have lasers, others have dazzling light shows, but Father John Misty’s onstage set-up includes the social media smash that is a giant neon sign which bears the slogan ‘No Photography’. Which of course leads to everyone and their dog reaching for their iPhones to illicitly take a snap.
Father John Misty’s beard is undoubtedly one of the finest in modern music. A pinch of Karl Marx, a smattering of ZZ Top and a whole lot of lonesome lumberjack, his facial fluff transcends hipster cliché. Hair-llelujah.
Father John Misty’s approach to Instagram is a lot like his approach to music – leftfield, witty and stupidly entertaining. Think deranged life coach, meme mocker and stock image destroyer. If you’re expecting cutesy behind the scenes snaps and pics of onstage scissor kicks, this is not the place to look.