Father John Misty delivers fascinating performance

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Burak Cingi/Redferns
Photo from Billboard

By Mary Norris
The Carolinian

Father John Misty delivered an enthralling performance at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Asheville, N.C., last month.

His opener, Weyes Blood, also delivered. He is touring in support of 2017 release, “Pure Comedy”.

Weyes Blood walked onstage in a shiny, green pantsuit, typical of the California-based singer.
Performing primarily tracks from her latest release, “Front Row Seat to Earth”, she took the stage originally without the accompaniment of her keyboard, later using it to incorporate organ sounds that provided most of the character for her work.

With her backing band, the lush texture of her songs did not go abandoned. Rich in descending chromatic lines, tasteful vibrato, and thick vocal tones, Weyes Blood enveloped the crowd in brooding, passionate psychedelia. The candles onstage helped tremendously.

Weyes Blood told the crowd to get ready for “Daddy Misty” shortly before Father John Misty came onstage with his backing band. Also sticking true to the textural variety heard on his 2017 release, “Pure Comedy”, Misty added variations elsewhere to enrich the performance.

“Birdie” featured pitched percussion that was at a higher volume during the live performance than on the album. Horn sounds were replaced with more synth sounds. Misty frequently made slight alterations to lyrics, using speech singing to emphasize important sections of the text.

Beginning with light strolls across the stage (face time. beard rubs and hand swivels), Misty took the audience through the comedy of man, the story of a false-feminist detecting, dying man glued to his Facebook feed, nonsensical rock numbers, a love strengthened by disdain for society, and the sentimental sadness of growing older.

Hand swivels and quick turns became dramatic drops onstage, microphone stand swivels, and provocative dance moves. Asheville was quiet with the start of each lyric-heavy song and roaring by the end of them. Sophisticated production translated well into live practice, and every freedom Misty took with his original tunes made the crowd roar even louder.

What an entertaining live commentary on capitalism, religion, and entertainment itself.

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