Father John Misty at the Santa Ana Observatory on March 30th, 2016
Father John Misty is eccentric, to say the least. He grew up in a strict Evangelical Christian household that didn't allow secular music. At one point, he was interested in becoming a pastor, but later settled on music. He's toured with numerous indie bands including Fleet Foxes and later left to focus on Father John Misty. You can't listen to his music without having the occasional chuckle, as he talks about Iowaska, cosmic serpents, and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
As the crowd filed in, I caught a glimpse of people wearing bolo ties, bell bottoms, and basically anything else that was popular during the 70s. It was the most fashionable crowd I've seen to date. There was a mixture of high schoolers (some of which were getting busted for fake IDs at the front door) and older couples. He opened he set with "Everyman Needs a Companion", off his 2012 album Fear Fun. Immediately, the crowd was singing every single lyric in unison. This chorus of voices continued throughout the entire concert, much to my amazement. I had only seen FJM at a festival prior to this concert, so witnessing a concert of his in such a smaller venue was truly magical. The spectators were feeling the music with every inch of their bodies.
At one point, there were some technical difficulties and he commented that by the looks of him, you would think there was no electricity in the venue, that everything was steam powered. Or at powered by sex magic, the blackest kind. Little comments like this kept the crowd laughing and relaxed. Humor is part of the overall appeal of a Father John Misty concert, especially since it's a theme largely seen throughout his music.
Throughout the night, his interactions with fans never seemed to cease. One fan called out, during a moment of dead silence, "What's your favorite color!". He gave it a moment of thought and said "appaloosa green". During another moment of technical difficulties, he stole a fan's phone from the front row and took several selfies. When he gave the phone back to her he said, "You can just stare at that for the rest of the concert. Or you could even leave too." He then posed for photos for the fans, in atypical rocker poses, with his mouth wide open and strumming his guitar. He was able to distract the crowd from the malfunctions of the equipment and keep them engaged.
Father John Misty oozes sex appeal, in a way I'm not entirely sure that I can accurately describe. His movements across the stage are hypnotizing and his energy is magnetic. Fans were offering him their hands, hats, and even a cigarette in one case. Towards the end of his set, he covered Patti Smith's "Because the Night" and did an encore covering Rihanna's "Kiss It Better". His voice was mystifying, the crowd was full of love and emotion, and the concert was one for the books. A Father John Misty concert is not to missed, it's truly an experience of a lifetime.