We overheard a comment from a woman at the Uptown Tuesday night that was very telling of the Father John Misty show. It was a young woman who turned to her friend and said “I think this is a dude’s band more than a ladies’ band.”
This is very much the essence of Father John Misty, the persona created by Josh Tillman. The men want to be him, and the ladies wanted to be with him. If all his indie folk ballads were true, he’d be one hell of a legend. Tales of a “ladiesman,” endless uneasy situations, and the current tanking American economy are all present on his setlist. It’s something only the common white man feels he relates to. So when they’re in the mood for sad bastard music (we mean that endearingly), they turn to him. But in today’s rising feminist climate, it’s not necessarily something the women can get into. In fact, many of the women at his shows usually arrive just to demand his man seed (as they have at Father John Misty shows we’ve covered in the past). They scream “I love you!” and “I want to have your babies!” The silhouetted performer with a flair for dramatic hand gestures and sassy eye rolls is all sex for many of the female fans who love him, but little more. For the men, however, he’s an irreplaceable icon.
Father John Misty was joined on this night by Tess and Dave, a duo that could be looked at in two ways. They were either cute and kitschy, or we were all the butt of a joke that was only funny to them (we’re leaning toward the latter). They arrived without a band, playing only the occasional guitar and sleigh bells while singing along to recorded music. The songs, without a doubt, are a dreamy type of pop that is pleasant and easy on the ears. The performance, however, was mismatched. They began their set at opposite ends of the stage, ceremoniously marching towards each other. Throughout their songs, they stopped to either slow dance dreamily with each other or boogied about and shook their tushies, all while clad in countless sequins (Dave) and a big flowy, silky robe (Tess). It felt like a throwback to an ironic style of performing that went out of fashion years ago. Regardless of what their intent was, the audience adored them and cheered any moment they started dancing.
Words and photos by Fally Afani