Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Father John Misty-Live at Lee's Palace

When my friend asked if I wanted to go see Father John Misty a few weeks ago, I was a little bit hesitant to say yes. Would I want to give up my Saturday night up to go see a folk rock band. Any other night of the week I would, but Saturday is usually not ideal to see live music that is so laid back. Plus it was the weekend before Halloween and there was sure to be all sort of fun parties to attend. Luckily my friend reminded me that Father John Misty was no ordinary folk rock artist. I had forgotten the man otherwise known as Josh Tillman is quite the wit and wanna be rock star. Then I heard that Vivian girls "Kickball" Katy Goodman was opening with her project La Sera and I knew I couldn't miss this show.

The first act on the night was a band called Jeffertitti's Nile, who's lead singer was also the bass player for Tillman's band. I had to giggle at the group's name (thinking like Beavis and/or Butthead). The band  played a really great brand of fuzzy reverb laden psychedelic rock with Tillman pulling double duty on drums.

Up next was the beautiful redhead, Katy Goodman, and her lo fi garage pop band La Sera. The singer came on stage with a red varsity high school jacket, a lacy white dress and her hair in an updo ponytail. After the first couple of songs Goodman explained that she was dressed as a valley girl for Halloween and promptly got rid of the ponytail because it was giving her a headache. She played mostly songs from her latest album, Sees the Light, including the bubble gum garage of the fantastic single Break My Heart. Unfortunately the sound was not very good for the first few songs and it didn't change until Goodman asked for more reverb on the mic. After that Goodman's voice was near perfect.

Last but not least, the five piece Father John Misty took to stage with singer Tillman brandishing a full bottle of Jameson whisky. Tillman loves to be a showman and acts more like Mick Jagger or Axl Rose than someone who is leading an band that plays Americana. Also a bit of a funny man, Tillman made jokes between songs all night. When he first got on stage he told the audience how much he liked hanging out in the back of the venue, Lee's Palace, where there was a big heap of trash and strangers offering the band pot and 'shrooms. He also, jokingly, gave respect to the concert hall for having the word "Palace" in the venue's name.

The band played pretty well all of the songs off of their debut album, Fear Fun, which had sounds that ranged between folk rock, country rock and psychedelia. Just before Now I'm Learning to Love the War, Tillman said that he was not wearing anything that represented Toronto, at which point an audience member offered the singer an Indian headdress ( I assume he was wearing it as a Halloween costume). Tillman took it and placed it on the hat that Jeffertitti was wearing, probably because the lead singer wandered about the stage like heavy metal cock rocker while taking swigs from his Jamesons for the extended jam and wouldn't have been able to keep it on.

The set ended with the first single from the band, Hollywood Forever Cemetery sings, which showed that the rest of the band could rock out as much as their lead singer. The psychedelic track ended with a chaotic flurry of grunge feedback which left the audience wanting more.

The encore saw Tillman and his guitarist take the stage, where the singer did a pretty good version of crooner Dean Martin's standard Nevertheless, I'm in Love With You. The rest of the band joined Tillman for the last song of the night, which was an extended jam of the Canned Heat country rock classic On the Road Again.

Would I see this band on a Saturday night again? You bet.

Set list:
Funtimes in Babylon
Only Son of the Ladies Man
Nancy From Now On
I'm Writing a Novel
Misty's Nightmares 1 & 2
This is Sally Hatchet
Well, You Can Do it Without Me
Now I'm Learning to Love the War
Tee Pees 1-12
Every Man Needs a Companion
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings

Nevertheless, I'm in Love With You  (Dean Martin cover)
On the Road Again (Canned Heat cover)

Thanks to Jacques Hung for the video.

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