If there is an artist with enough mystique, charisma and allure that they could pass for a modern cult leader, it’s Father John Misty. The evidence is scattered all around the Kelvingrove Bandstand crowd, bearded hipster twenty somethings in sunglasses and pint clutching indie girls waiting eager for their leader to deliver his sermon. Father John Misty shows are cheesy, emotional and at times tribal affairs from an unlikely sex symbol in the young indie scene. This is Misty’s first Scotland show in support for his 2018 album God’s Favorite Customer, an album that came out only a year after his dystopian magnum opus Pure Comedy.
God’s Favorite Customer is not the most upbeat of albums but as soon as Misty beings to croon the album’s opening track, Hangout at the Gallows, to the Glasgow crowd, every word is mirrored right back at him. A man of style, Misty is uncharacteristically casual on the stage, with a black t-shirt and baggy pinstripes. The singer jokingly addresses this, blaming the airport for losing his luggage. The set itself is as straight to point as a Misty set can be – no nonsense hits and very little in the filler department, making it hard to judge the pint runs or ciggy breaks. This aside, past hits like Real Love Baby collide with the new, Mr. Tillman being a highlight, effortlessly making this one of, if not his most memorable Scottish show.
The dreamy fan favourite Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins) is one of the most danceable moments of the show and results in one of the most impassioned singalongs from the crowd. However, there is strong competition in the form of the love-drunk and swooning I Love You, Honeybear, which young couples mouth and sing to their significant other. Misty’s vocals are smooth, harsh and unrestrained with Pure Comedy, a song filled with the witty social commentary that he has now become notorious for.
The show is not limited in its moment of tenderness. Album title track God’s Favorite Customer shows Misty at his most vulnerable. The showmanship is turned down to its minimum and Misty takes to the piano, displaying a musician at what feels like his most genuine and sincere lyrical moment. At the end, when the staple ‘one more tune’ chants finally subside, fans are thrown a curveball with the bouncy single Date Night finding the singer at his most sarcastic.
When the lights finally dim on the hour and fifteen-minute set and on what some people will no doubt treat as a religious awakening, the only murmurs of complaint are ‘wasn’t long enough.’ With a gig spilling with so much wit, sarcasm and love-drunk singalongs, that’s pretty good as far as complaints go.