With his tales of heartbreak in tow, Father John Misty and his band arrive as the light is beginning to dim. Dressed in black business wear and “feeling like the only man in a 5-mile radius dressed this way”, his band launch into title track ‘I Love You, Honeybear’. He emerges, spiralling around the stage, clasping the air, swinging the mic around his head and jumping atop of a drum kit to scream his melancholic pieces to the air. It would have been enough to close the set, but we were just beginning.
There’s so much substance to the ex-Fleet Foxes man’s set. “She says, like literally, music is the air she breathes. And the malaprops make me want to fucking scream. I wonder if she even knows what that word means. Well, it’s literally not that” His lyrics regularly produce giggles from the audience, before the unison sigh that follows as the backhanded sadness hits you on the way out.
“I love you.” A cry sounds out from the audience following a tumultous version of ‘When You’re Smiling And Astride Me.”
“I love you too,” he replies. “But I’ve got stuff to work out after what she did to me.”
And the set, rife with melodrama and, at times, a sense of desperation as he pulls his hair and clenches his jaw, is exactly that. But sometimes great art, like his 2015 record, require a tragedy to come into existance. However, it is this live performance that guarantees Father John Misty is set to become one of the must-see acts who are currently working.
If you do want to see the set, there are sure to be some emerging on YouTube soon: shortly before his performance of ‘The Ideal Husband’ he spoke into somebody’s filming iPhone, saying ‘Hello YouTube’ and wishing the future well. Before, of course, of asking for subscribers and signing off as Chris Isaac.
Definitively ‘Bored in the USA’, his satirical take on Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’, is a defining moment. He lies on the ground like a fifties’ pin-up, gesticulating with his hands and drawing attention with the subtlest flick of the finger. He screams “Save me white Jesus!” illustrating the point of desperation he has reached and that defines his ouevre. I hope that you do work it out, Joshua.