Father John Misty enamored loyal fans and made believers out of the uninitiated in Oakland this past April Fool’s Day. In an ironic yet undoubtedly genuine performance, the artist preached to and played with a compliant audience in a
display that was both sermon-like and singular in nature.
As his stage-name suggests, Josh Tillman proffered both his characteristic sarcasm and his clever lyricism in a fashion reminiscent to that of a cleric. In opening with “Everyman Needs a Companion,” Misty petitioned the sold-out Fox Theatre to act as his confidant for the evening. The audience then joined him in what would be a passionate expression of musings on modern love and creativity. Interspersed with moments of chaos that broke up segments of relative calm, the show took frenzied turns that were characterized by flurried lights and Misty’s own gyrations that often found him crashing to the floor in a number of feverish falls. Intimate story telling and gesticulations contrasted this chaos; as he gingerly held onto his wineglass during “Bored in the USA,” Misty articulated the story equally with his hands as well as his voice.
The show was well rehearsed but felt spontaneous enough to prevent any predictability. Despite common comments on Misty’s past performances noting his talkativeness between songs, April 1st’s showing was all about the music and it was clear that he would allow his lyrics to do the talking.
His performance was both coy and coquettish; in a display that felt tangibly seductive and alluring, Father John Misty brought the entreating congregation to grasp at his feet for something more. I left the Fox with an unrelenting and urgent desire for the ineffable, the transcendent.
Whatever god-forsaken religion Father John Misty is preaching, I want in.
Written by Jacob Elsanadi