Fresh from a recent appearance at Austin City Limits festival, Father John Misty kicks off his current UK run in style in front of a sold-out crowd at the Sage Gateshead.

Of course, Josh Tillman is no stranger to the North East of England having played inside this majestic room twice previously as well as having performed at the O2 Academy back in 2009 during his tenure as the drummer with The Fleet Foxes. Subsequently, due to unprecedented demand, tonight’s show on Tyneside has long since been sold out.

Tillman takes to the stage bedecked in an immaculate white suit whilst grasping a Gibson SG guitar. The artist known by his moniker Father John Misty is shrouded in smoke and red light, which in turn adds to the mystique of tonight’s concert.

Joined onstage by his five-piece band, the show gets underway with an incredible rendition of “Hollywood Forever Cemetary”. With its hard-hitting rhythm and catchy hooks, Tillman’s passionate delivery immediately draws the crowd in.

Earlier this year FJM released his critically acclaimed fourth studio album God’s Favourite Customer. Early in the set, several tracks from the record feature including recent single “Mr Tillman” along with “Disappointing Diamonds Are The Rarest of Them All”. Throughout the course of the evening, seven of the ten tracks on the record feature.

Despite the onus on God’s Favourite Customer, there is still plenty of room for old favourites during his 21 song setlist. This includes the likes of mariachi tinged folk number “Chateau Lobby #4”, the incredibly infectious “Total Entertainment Forever” and the beautifully soulful “Nancy From Now On”. The crowd can’t help but be swept away by Tillman’s distinctive brand of indie rock.

Father John Misty’s demeanour, poetic lyricism and theatrical onstage antics have drawn many a comparison to the late great Jim Morrison. During a frantic airing of “Hangout at the Gallows” and the pedal steel infused Americana number “Nothing Good Ever Happens” it’s as if Tillman is channelling the iconic Doors frontman himself.

Father John Misty’s astounding vocal range and enigmatic stage presence lock the crowd in and captivates them throughout. He also charms the fans with his witty onstage banter between numbers, whilst often making exchanges with members of the audience.

Stood centre stage alone, Tillman performs his ‘most vulnerable song’ with a solo acoustic rendition of “I Went to the Store One Day” before proceeding with the heartfelt and somewhat melancholy “Please Don’t Die”.

Tillman brings his main set to a close with a thought-provoking airing of “Holy Shit”, which in turn results in a standing ovation. The whole room on their feet as FJM returns to the stage for a three-song encore featuring fan favourites including “The Palace”, the psychedelic retro ballad “I Love You Honeybear” and the hard-hitting “Date Knight”, which in turn brings the show to a fuzz fuelled garage rock finale.

Like the iconic artists to whom Father John Misty has drawn a comparison to, he has all of the hallmarks of a rock legend in the making. Tillman is full of swagger and rock and roll panache. He has star quality in abundance making tonight’s show at the Sage Gateshead simply unforgettable.

Father John Misty
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Event Date: 26-Oct-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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