Music review: Father John Misty, Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow

His suitcase may have been delayed somewhere in touring transitland, but Father John Misty (aka LA-based singer-songwriter Josh Tillman) was very much present in his casual baggy civvies, looking and acting like the charismatic guru at the head of his bushy-bearded musician cult, ready to dispense his shaggy dog sermons to a leafy amphitheatre full of willing converts.

Father John Misty PIC: Larry Marano/Shutterstock
Father John Misty PIC: Larry Marano/Shutterstock

Father John Misty, Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow ****

“There’s no need to fear me,” he assured the worshippers at his feet on tender entreaty When You’re Smiling and Astride Me. For this is a church of expansive roots rockers, eloquent storytelling and seductive singing, replete with a rather indulgent five sets of keyboards, which could be considered excessive even by prog rock standards.

Misty’s music is earthier, concerned with the thornier aspects of the human condition and sociopolitical culture. The smart Black Mirror-style satire Total Entertainment Forever coupled feelgood music with feelbad lyrics, while Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow was a leisurely low-slung saunter through easy listening country and lounge pop territory en route to a melodramatic crescendo.

The entire set was characterised by such dynamism. The breezy uplift of Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins) was followed by the comedown country of Please Don’t Die and an intimate, understated and casually delivered rendition of The Palace pulsed with the potential to go nuclear.

Lest we got too cosy with free and easy country rocker Real Love Baby, there was always the toxic reckoning of Pure Comedy’s brief (though not in pop song terms) disgusted history of mankind to come.

Throughout, his six-piece band worked hard to make it look easy, showing off their chops with the searing rock explosion of Holy Shit and the strutting energy of rollicking Stonesy encore number Date Night. - Fiona Shepherd