The last time I saw Father John Misty, he was opening for Youth Lagoon at The Opera House. This time, he was headlining at Lee’s Palace. But his placement in the lineup doesn’t really matter—I’d buy tickets just to watch him dance.
Openers were Jeffertitti’s Nile (who I wasn’t there early enough to catch), and La Sera, who killed it. Dressed up as a valley girl for Halloween, hair in a scrunchie and wearing a white lacy dress, Katy Goodman charmed the crowd from first song to last.
Father John Misty graced the stage a little before midnight, with one of the kookiest intros I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. Wearing a retro cardigan (imagine a 1970’s carpet) and holding a bottle of whisky, he said “Well, Toronto gets the award for best group of people to hang out with by piles of garbage. Oh, here’s some mushrooms, do you want some weed? Rama lama ding dong. We’re smart and attractive. Well done. You guys having a good Halloween? I am too.”
Musically, he kicked things off with Funtimes in Babylon, the first track on his newest album, Fear Fun. The chorus—“Look out Hollywood here I come”—became a sing-a-long, the packed crowd dancing and cheering almost non-stop.
He took off the cardigan for the next song, promising that he would “continue to take it off,” and (quite appropriately) played Only Son of the Ladies’ Man.
Most of the night consisted of tracks from Fear Fun, with personal favourites I’m Writing a Novel and Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2, and crowd pleaser Nancy From Now On. By that song, he was striped down to a holey white t-shirt, and his dancing was theatrical, almost exaggerated, completely amusing and entrancing: it was full of pelvic thrusts, hip swinging, putting his open palm to his forehead or cheek and bugging out his eyes. And despite his music being best categorized as folk, some poor girl attempted to crowd surf.
She failed in that endeavor, as Misty failed to fulfill his wish to “smooch every one of you,” though later in the night he lied down on stage and kissed the audience member closest to him.
The banter and interactions between Misty and the audience only got better as the show went on. When he asked for a Halloween costume, someone passed up a feather headdress, which was eventually passed on to the purple-haired bassist while Misty put on a masquerade mask.
Free of costumes but not strangeness, his encore consisted of two covers: Nevertheless (I’m in Love with You) and On the Road Again.Post show, Misty was hanging out around the dumpsters behind Lee’s, chatting with some girls, graciously signing my t-shirt, before disappearing back inside.
For a review of Fear Fun, click here.