Father John Misty @ Commodore Ballroom Vancouver © Jamie Taylor
Father John Misty @ Commodore Ballroom Vancouver © Jamie Taylor

Father John Misty + Courtney Marie Andrews @ Commodore Ballroom – May 24th 2015

Father John Misty, aka Joshua Tillman, has grown in huge strides over the last couple of years.

I first saw him open up for The Walkmen at the Commodore Ballroom back in January of 2013. Since then Mr. Tillman has released a new album – 2015’s I Love You, Honeybear – which has been very well received, and made the artist much more widely known.

The thing that really separates him from the rest is the way he performs on stage. He absolutely loses himself in the moment, and becomes over taken in the delivery of each song. It is very fitting that he has the moniker of Father because he takes on the spirit of a Southern revivalist minister on that stage. Casting out the demons by way of music.

Last night in Vancouver, he brought his band to the stage and took his place front and center, under the thick red lights. Behind him was a light prop made to look like an old neon sign; a heart with the words ‘No Photography’ in the middle. I found the statement funny, as a photographer standing in the mix trying to grab a few shots. But then I realized the backed the statement up with the way they lit most of the show. The stage was a constant wash in rich reds or rich blues, mostly backlighting Joshua and team. This made the ability to capture any clear photograph of their faces, much more difficult. Though there were times when the lighting would change briefly, so if you were quick, and lucky, you could get something.

While I watch FJM work around the stage, I started to feel more and more that he reminded me of another performer. It wasn’t until the 3rd song that I realizer that he reminded me of Charles Bradley. Just up there serving up intense, passion, emotion through vocals and physical action. As I this thought flipped around my ming, Tillman knelt down, placing his hands around the head of an eager fan and he sang for a second with his forehead pressed to hers. It was a quick second, but it was beautiful. It felt honest and true, and just in the moment.

The set was powerful and explosive and pretty much perfect. You would be hard pressed to find someone that was in attendance tell you they did not enjoy it.

I expect Father John Misty will just get bigger and bigger. You can’t throw a road flare into a pile of bottle rockets and expect the world not to hear it.

I hope more artists on the rise will take note of what Joshua Tillman is doing, because we need more of this. We need a lot more of this.

Father John Misty

Courtney Marie Andrews

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