Can you identify Father John Misty’s Josh Tillman in this photograph of the band Fleet Foxes?
I struggled too!
Here he is with a bit less hair:
In the past, whenever I have mentioned Father John Misty, I would often mention that he was in the band Fleet Foxes. People usually expressed some sort of level of appreciation for the man shortly after. The reality is that Tillman joined the band two albums deep long into the success of band’s career. Four years ago he explained his role in the band Fleet Foxes to music site The Line of Best Fit:
People have really exaggerated my involvement with Fleet Foxes; they had two records done by the time I joined the band and the writing was already on the wall that they were going to be the next big thing. I just learned the drum parts for their songs and tried to execute them as best as I could. I didn’t write anything you know, I didn’t really contribute anything creatively other than I hit the drums a little harder than their previous drummer! They would be just as good and just as successful without me so…. The whole thing is just kind of a head fuck.
Tillman is undeniably outspoken. In talking to the audience this evening he referred to the crowd as “motherfuckers” and the folks in the more expensive, ticketed seats located in the balcony as “Toronto royalty.” Tillman’s mid-show indulgent monologue involved declaring that he had spent the previous night dancing on tables in bars with his guitarist, drawing explicit reference to the film Coyote Ugly. Between all of this he took swigs of a bottle of something hard, I suspect whiskey, which made its way to multiple band members by the end of the set.
Tillman is completely ruthless and unhinged when it comes to stage banter, something that comes off kind of funny at first, but loses its shine real fast.
As a performer, the band were absolutely flawless, which makes me think, Tillman’s entitled display is really just his way of wanking. It really surprised me that his performance, amongst all of the sassy banter, was, for the most part, great. Each song played at the gig was from the band’s only album Fear Fun, with one brief kick at the Lynyrd Skynyrd tune “Freebird.” The impromptu cover was suggested when Tillman took out an acoustic guitar and began to list-off big time acoustic tunes that he sarcastically called great acoustic tunes. He mentioned “Wonderwall” and “that Green Day tune that was played at every graduation between 1999 and 2003”. Someone in the crowd yelled “Freebird” and Tillman declared back that the first crummy five minutes of the tune was acoustic, he then asked his guitarist if he was able to play the sweet guitar solo near the end. The band, after some shy noodling, launched into the 5:00 point of “Freebird,” which forever and always will remind me of the Cameron Crowe film Elizabethtown, it shouldn’t, but it does. The crowd cheered as Tillman’s band ripped through the tune; Tillman took a seat at the edge of the stage, facing the crowd.
For the encore, Tillman entered the stage again, alone. He told the crowd that it means a lot to him that everyone appreciated his music enough to make it out. He expressed some displeasure in having to play the tunes night after night, claiming that it eventually becomes meaningless to play them. He then strapped on his guitar and waited in silence. In the lingering moments between Tillman’s ridiculous monologue and what would have been the encore, the crowd anxiously waited for Tillman to launch into another ditty. The crowd hushed at each other, amidst all someone yelled for the tune “Freebird.” After waiting thirty more seconds in silence, Tillman lifted his acoustic guitar off of his back and smashed it on the ground and walked off stage. The crowd stood in awe in the darkroom waiting for a reappearance or perhaps an explanation for Tillman’s sudden and dramatic behaviour. Eventually, after a minute of awe and curiosity in the dark, the houselights flicked on and it was apparent that the show was over.
It was certainly the most awkward exit I’ve ever witnessed. It was apparently the last headlining show of the tour, perhaps he was just blowing off some steam.
On another note, I thought the Minneapolis (!!!) band, Night Moves, sounded excellent, however, based on their sound, I am not entirely certain I can take the band seriously.
And one more, I felt as though the crowd was a bit more hip than usual. I can’t explain it, but despite a mega music festival being held in Montreal, Toronto folks were looking even more beautiful than usual at this gig…