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Father John Misty gives transcendent performance at Canalside

So that thing happened to me. You know, the one where you feel the goose flesh rise on your arms, you throw your hands toward heaven (or the sky, for secular types) and you are possessed by the uncontrollable desire to hug your neighbor, who’s a stranger? All because of four chords, a melody and some lyrics that hit deep?

Father John Misty's Canalside set started mellow and laid-back, but little by little, the music became more intense, the dynamic range more broad and the tenor more frenzied, and Misty – aka Josh Tillman, songwriter, frontman, and expert manipulator of mass emotion – had so masterfully paced the stylist that, by the final stretch, songs were beginning to feel like revelations rather than mere pop ditties.

Misty's unerring ability to blend incisive melodies with Beatle-esque chord progressions, edgy indie-pop arrangements and brutal, brilliant and often blunt lyrics was in full evidence at Canalside. I entered a casual fan, and left a full-on convert.

The emotional crescendo formed by the pairing of "We're Only People (And There's Not Much Anyone Can Do About That)" and "I Love You, Honeybear" was both compelling and cathartic. By this point in the show, Misty owned the crowd.

It was as if we had been sucked straight into the world of broken promises, empty bottles and despair both crippling and comical he so aptly summons on his latest album, "God's Favorite Customer."

The setlist

"Nancy From Now On," "Chateau Lobby #4," "Strange Encounter," "Disappointing Diamonds are the Rarest of Them All," "Only Son of the Ladiesman," "Mr. Tillman," "Total Entertainment Forever," "Ballad of the Dying Man," "Hangout at the Gallows," "Bored in the USA," "Please Don't Die," "I'm Writing a Novel," "Date Night," "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings," "Pure Comedy," "We're Only People (and There's Not Much Anyone Can Do About That)," "I Love You, Honeybear," "Real Love Baby; The Ideal Husband."


Father John Misty, July 26 at Canalside

*Photos: Father John Misty performs at Canalside
*Smiling fans at Father John Misty


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