The Walkmen with Father John Misty, Danforth Music Hall, January 16th.

This show, as I have declared on social media sites, was my music Superbowl.  However, these two bands were not in a competition to win the ring. It’s been a long time since I have seen a show (aside from a festival) where two power house bands complimented each other so well.

Father John Misty

Sometimes, people are just born to do something. It is as natural to them as breathing. For Josh Tillman,  the man behind the moniker Father John Misty, it is storytelling. J. Tillman has published short stories and has been writing songs for years, previously having performed under his given name, as a solo artist. He later joined Fleet Foxes as the drummer, and when disbanded, went on to become Father John Misty. When he sings a verse, he doesn’t just sing you his story, he shows you through a comical interpretive dance, which, in an interview with KEXP explained was his norm.

J. Tillman also has a natural stage banter with his fans. He can converse with the audience so easily, as if we’re people he’s known for years, kicking away any between-song awkwardness. “We’ve been here, what, four times in the last year or so? I see more than a few familiar faces. We’re practically a local band now.” He exclaimed to audiences, much to our delight rattling off Dark Horse coffee spot and one or two others. Since FJM, only has one full length album, they covered the majority of songs in their 45 minute set. Backed by an intensely talented band, they ripped through their faster songs, namely, ‘I’m Writing a Novel’, ‘Only Song of a Ladies Man’, ‘Misty’s Nightmare’s 1 + 2’, and their closing track ‘Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings’ which is the first track on the album. A punching rendition, after the intro verse, the drums hit heavy, the guitar fast and unrelenting, left the crowd screaming and stomping for an encore that was not to come. Thankfully we had The Walkmen to look forward to…

The Walkmen

After more than ten years together, The Walkmen still sound like they’re young lads playing a dingy New York basement club. This is meant to be a compliment. The Walkmen have managed to mature as people, musician’s, songwriter’s and performers, but have still kept their integrity and foundation solid. As they took their positions on stage, lead singer, Hamilton Leithauser strolled out, a tall, well dressed force to be reckoned with. He approached the microphone like he had beef with it, and proceeded to rip through two old favorites, ‘We’ve Been Had’ and ‘The Rat’. Through the slower songs there seemed to be a few mess-ups, but Leithauser’s passionate performance erased any doubts. It’s very rare to me nowadays, with the EDM culture and technology, to see such a raw, authentic and passionate band up on stage, that can physically make your stomach leap and your heart sink at the same time, but The Walkmen seems to achieve this effortlessly. Playing a healthy mix off their discography, when it came to ‘All Hands and the Cook’ off of ‘A Hundred Miles Off’.  Matt Barrick ominously setting the marching tone with his drums, the lighting cast a shadow on the adjacent wall, making him look like a drumming Nosferatu, before climax hit and Leithauser’s screeching angry vocals came in.

Photo by: Ashley Tredenick

Highlight of the night for me was the performance of ‘We Can’t be Beat’ off of their newest release ‘Heaven’, it elicited a sing-a-long with the crowd, covering the ‘Oohh-ooh’s’ along with him. The encore was a Canadian favorite ‘Canadian Girl’ . Danforth Music Hall quickly became one of my favorite venues in the city, and a perfect setting for this show. For a peek inside the magic of their performance, here is a rendition of ‘In The New Year’ The Walkmen performed on KEXP.

Posted on by lauren in Concerts