Latitude 2016: Father John Misty storms the Obelisk Arena with rip-roaring set

Father John Misty, live at Latitude 2016 - Paul John Bayfield

Father John Misty, live at Latitude 2016 - Paul John Bayfield

Those who have heard Father John Misty on record could be forgiven for expecting a slightly different demeanour on stage from the former Fleet Foxes drummer.

On record, Father John, real name Josh Tillman is sounds far more reined in than the character he presents on stage.

His sound is very Americana - soaring lap steels accompany guitars to create an authentically Stateside soundscape.

However, in the flesh, a new dimension is added, with an enormous crowd at the Obelisk Arena being treated to extra energy and additional layers of sound.

But the real selling point of the show is Father John's stage presence.


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From the moment he arrives, all decked out in black – black shirt, black blazer, black jean, knees torn– it is impossible to take your eyes off of him.

His movement is emphatic, reminiscent of previous Latitude headliner Nick Cave.

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When not playing the guitar, he prowls around the stage – tiger like – with a plethora of suggestive gestures.

His long limbs flail as he throws himself to his knees and stomps around, looking a man possessed.

His voice, however, is heavenly – crisp, clear and defined.

He croons confidently through lyrics addressing all manner of things – relationships, religion, matters of the boudoir, to name but a few.

And build in is a dry, rapier wit, which is displayed for all to see the one time he addresses the audience, suggesting the older he gets, the stranger his tattoos get.

'I may get a tattoo of a slice of pizza wearing a top hat, with a monocle, under my eye,' he said, completely dead pan.

The set draws almost entirely from his acclaimed album 'I Love You, Honeybear', which appeared in several 2015 end of year lists.

During the album's title track, the penultimate number of his set, he leaps into the audience, drinking in the adulation.

One track later, and he is gone, bringing his set to a climax with a rousing rendition of 'The Ideal Husband'.

The festival will see several hundred performances over the weekend – but this one will take some beating.

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