The show Father John Misty is putting on for his Pure Comedy tour is pure spectacle: a 15-piece (or so) band, including a string and horn section, helps bring the scope of the new album to life, and visually it’s a knockout too, with animations from the album art projected onto two screens. Add to that the grandiose surroundings of Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre and his show Wednesday night was really something, with Josh Tillman front and center the whole time.
The show was basically divided into three parts. The first half of the main set was dedicated to Pure Comedy, running through the first half of the album (but skipping the 13-minute opus “Leaving L.A.”). The songs sounded great, but there is something more admirable than enjoyable to the new album, an almost lecture vibe — well constructed and on-point as it is. People stayed in their seats, perhaps struck by the wonder of those projections.
Within ten seconds of “When You’re Smiling and Astride Me,” though, the audience was standing up and singing along, which also saw Tillman switch into hearthrob Showman mode. (He’s clearly studied the masters: Elvis, James Brown, Tom Jones). This was where the show really kicked into overdrive, and he really knocked “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow,” “Nancy From Now On,” “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings,” “Strange Encounter” and “I Love You, Honeybear” out of the park, bringing thunderous applause. Tillman, who can be chatty on stage, kept banter to a minimum.
The encore was more of a third act, opening with his single “Bored in the USA,” and then more songs off Pure Comedy and finishing the nearly two-hour show with “Holy Shit.” Setlist is below and pictures from the whole night, including ones of openers Dams of the West (Chris Tomson of Vampire Weekend’s side project), are in the gallery above.
Father John Misty moves to Brooklyn Steel for sold-out shows tonight (5/11) and Friday (5/12), both of which are with Adam Green. His tour returns to the NYC area in late summer to play Port Chester’s Capitol Theatre on 9/14 with Phosphorescent. Tickets are still available.
SETLIST: Father John Misty @ Kings Theatre 5/10/2017
Total Entertainment Forever
Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution
Ballad of the Dying Man
A Bigger Paper Bag
When the God of Love Returns There’ll Be Hell to Pay
When You’re Smiling and Astride Me
Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow
Funtimes in Babylon
Nancy From Now On
Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
I Love You, Honeybear
Bored in the USA
So I’m Growing Old on Magic Mountain
In Twenty Years or So