ACL Live Shot: Father John Misty
Zilker Park, Oct. 13
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Oct. 19, 2012
Josh Tillman may or may not be an asshole, but he plays a great one onstage. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter has reinvented himself under the Father John Misty moniker, shedding the contemplative folk of his solo work and that with the Fleet Foxes in favor an almost antagonistic apathy. Opening with "Funtimes in Babylon" from this year's surprising Sub Pop debut, Fear Fun, Tillman thrashed and shimmied out front of the sextet so awkwardly, that he threatened a hipster paradox of being cool by virtue of his completely nonchalant uncoolness. Random, meandering stories and quips sprouted between songs (including a classic moment pretending he was taping the Austin City Limits television show), but his turns through lounge-y Seventies folk-pop and folky psychedelia were spot-on spectacular. Crooning "Only Son of a Ladiesman," swooning "Nancy From Now On," and the howling "I'm Writing a Novel" all ripped with a provocative aplomb, while the country swagger of "Well, You Can Do It Without Me" and "Misty's Nightmares 1 & 2" revealed Tillman as a mix of Lee Hazlewood and Mickey Newbury. "I like bumming people out," offered Tillman drolly, but Father John Misty requires the audience just go along for the ride.