Show Review: Father John Misty At Danforth Music Hall

By Erik Masson, Photos by Maria Sokulsky-Dolnycky

Appreciators of the art of music don’t ask for too much. Our demands are reasonable; we want to consume music that entertains us and/or makes us think about things a little differently than we have before, and we usually prefer when an artist presents that music to us in some sort of live setting.

Fear Fun cover art

Fear Fun cover art

On August 3rd, those of us who shuffled into the Danforth Music Hall were treated to an astounding fulfillment of these demands. Father John Misty, currently touring his 2012 album Fear Fun, presented his masterpiece with a tangibly honest energy which puts most other performers to shame, although to call Father John Misty a performer would perhaps be discrediting. The set consisted of almost all of the tracks from Fear Fun, with only the slow, hymnal “O I Long to Feel Your Arms Around Me” being left out. In terms of a live performance, nothing more could have been asked of the man; he paraded through each song, sauntering and dancing his way across the stage in a hypnotizing fashion which sets him apart from the typical reservation of folk artists. His banter was uniquely conversational and casual – even dismissive of the audience’s treatment of him as a celebrity. As he walked onto the stage, he called, “Hello to the people on the balcony…” the balcony-dwellers cheered in response.”Are there actually people up there? What are you, Canadian royalty?” His banter persevered between every song, to the joy of some of us into the audience and the chagrin of others. However, his band was inarguably flawless, providing the perfect backdrop for Father John’s soaring voice and sly lyrics. At the end of the concert, finishing with what seemed to be the crowd favourite, “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”, the band descended into a wonderfully chaotic jam before finishing with a final verse. Answering the pounding and cheering of the crowd, Father John reemerged from backstage, alone.

However, he did not immediately launch into an encore. Putting down his mostly-finished bottle of vodka, he stated, “I want to say something serious for a second”. The crowd grumbled, having heard this line earlier before a joke. “No, shut the fuck up, this will only take me a minute,” he said. We obliged. I won’t try to recreate his words or even his general point, because my rendition would be inadequate. Suffice it to say that he tried to take a moment to be honest with us about why it is that he does what he does (the man wrote a very non-linear-satirical-narrative-novel and put it in the album, so he clearly has a lot to say), and instead of appreciating his lifting of the mystical curtain of the Hollywood Performer, the crowd hollered for him to hurry up and give them an encore worth their $30 tickets, forgetting that he had already done that and then some.

Father John Misty at Danforth Music Hall

Father John Misty at Danforth Music Hall

And so, in understandable frustration, Father John gave an indiscernible yell back, threw down his guitar, and walked off the stage. I stuck around with the hopefuls until the roadies started packing up the amps, then surrendered to my fate of never hearing that encore.

There are many stances that can be taken with reference to his decision not to play us an encore; but no matter how you feel about the last thirty seconds of the show, there can be no doubt that unless you literally walked in at the last minute, you got your $30 worth. It can be argued that the concert was worth $100, even though it was only an hour in length. However, my suggestion to concert-goers would be that the next time an artist tries to give you more than your money’s worth, shut up and take it. And if you don’t want to, the door is behind you, so let the rest of us enjoy the person behind the show.

 

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