Father John Misty at the Paradise

The first thing that stood out when Jeffertitti’s Nile came on stage to open the show was the lead singer’s tight golden spandex pants and long purple hair. It was not long, however, before their music took the throne as the most interesting thing. They started with a spacious psychedelic intro to a song that transitioned into a noisy, energetic jam. The lead guitarist had three different guitars that he switched out every song, and 15 effects pedals on his pedal board. The band, as a collective, had no fewer than 30 pedals on stage. This allowed them to achieve an array of sonic flavors, all of which they allowed the audience to sample. J Tillman, or Father John Misty and ex-Fleet Foxes drummer, got back to his roots and accompanied the band on drums. “This song is fast and crazy,” warned the lead singer and guitarist after switching guitars for the 5th time, “so dance and have fun.” The crowd obeyed, and collectively pulsed to the beat of Tillman’s drums.

The next opener, La Sera, is the solo project of “Kickball” Katy Goodman from the Vivian Girls. She led a band of three other musicians, all men. Whether she intended it or not, her leading the male dominated band felt like a statement of some sort. She wore a pretty, girly short floral dress that showcased her large tattoos with all black converse high tops. The juxtaposition of pretty and punk was not only found in her aesthetic, but in her music and her performance. She and her band played a set of fuzzy and distorted songs with sweet and breezy melodies from her latest solo album, See the Light. She danced and swayed innocently while plucking away at her bass. The manner in which her demeanor changed with each accented note was seductive and intensely captivating. Her band was impressive as well, particularly the lead guitarist, who proved his technical ability by shredding out some intense solos.

The lead guitarist and singer of Jeffertitti’s Nile returned the favor by joining Father John Misty on stage as the bassist, only this time with attire that more appropriately matched the style of the band. J Tillman opened the show with a witty remark about the existential crisis going on for all of the men watching the World Series that night before going into “Fun Times in Babylon”. It was a great indicator of what the performance would hold; solid, energetic, and fun playing with lots and lots of wit. When singing the next song, “Only Son of a Ladies Man”, he made air quotes when he said, “I’m a Dodgers fan,” shrugging it off with the realization that he is not in the right city to say that.

J Tillman’s stage presence is energetic with a fair amount of Mick Jagger-inspired dance moves. He interpreted the words he sang in a physical manner that made it seem like he was mocking the very words he wrote. His sarcastic and witty persona paired with his freaky dance moves made him an engaging and enticing stage presence and accounted for most of the energy of the show. He dedicated the song “Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2” to the, as her called her, “spicy” bartender. The band was clearly having a fun time, and when a band has fun, the crowd follows suit.

On “This is Sally’s Hatchet”, Tillman picked up an instrument for the first time of the night: a tambourine. Strangely, he revealed his secret talent of being probably the best tambourine player to have ever existed. Tillman, strapping on a guitar for “Tee Pees 1-12”, in no way hindered his stage energy or dance moves; it just became more shoulders, less arms. He shot a few glances at the “spicy” bartender when singing “Everyman Needs a Companion” and his suggestions were comically obvious. They left after an extended jam session and overall band freak-out during a performance of “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”. There were guitars being dragged on the floor, a cacophony of amp feedback, Tillman rolling on the ground, and pounding drums, all making for a surreal and captivating moment.

After an unbearable roar of crowd cheers, the band returned for an encore. With just a guitar and voice, Tillman covered “Nevertheless (I’m in Love With You)”. It was the most quiet moment of the night, and was abruptly interrupted by a cover that was part “On the Road Again” by Canned Heat, and part “Green Onions” by Booker T. & the MGs. It was a fun and energetic take on the songs, and, despite ending with songs not written by Father John Misty, left the impression of his personality strong in the minds of the crowd.

By Kevin O’Brien
Photos by Nina Corcoran

If you liked this, check out:
Cat Power at the House of Blues
Father John Misty Live In Studio

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