Live Review: Father John Misty, Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders

12 February 2018 | 5:28 pm | Annelise Ball

"Tillman goes 'Pure Comedy' and cracks into a rare, genuine grin at the lyric, 'Ladies, I hope we don't end up regretting this'."

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A mass gathering of Melbourne's hipsters congregate at Forum Theatre to pay homage to spiritual leader Father John Misty.

But first, Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders keep things appropriately understated with their slow-fi, dream rock. "Make sure you stick around for Father John Misty," Ladder says cheekily before ending with transcendent power ballad To Keep And To Be Kept. Punters take his advice and push themselves up close to the stage, ready for worship.

Father John Misty (Josh Tillman to his nearest and dearest) bursts out in a hot blaze of red light to the smacking drum intro of Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings and rocks out hard. Casting his guitar away for True Affection, Tillman shimmies and swings his hips behind the mic stand, proving to the unaware that he's quite the oddly captivating dancer. After demanding that the crowd clap along ("Fucking do it!" he says, meanly) he then declares, "That's the last time audience participation is required." Boss Misty's taking charge and the crowd laps it up.

Tillman then knuckles down and bangs out a run of songs with minimal banter. Playing The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment video clip alongside the performance, the crowd watches Tillman do lines of coke and make love to himself before descending into a joyous frenzy over Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins), Funtimes In Babylon and Total Entertainment Forever. Desperate for a bit of provocative clowning, punters go extra-apeshit when he obliges by posturing and prancing throughout. Bored In The USA is quietly and scathingly poignant, and Tillman preaches his message well. Thanking every one of our "stupid little faces" for coming along, he then ends with the beautiful shambolic romance of I Love You, Honeybear.

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Returning, of course, for an encore ("the place of pure spontaneity"), Tillman goes Pure Comedy and cracks into a rare, genuine grin at the lyric, "Ladies, I hope we don't end up regretting this". In the opening moments of So I'm Growing Old On Magic Mountain, a man in the audience clutches his head and exclaims, "Jesus Christ, it's gonna happen!" Another emotional man sits on his mate's shoulders, swaying, wasted and sweat-soaked. Someone blows bubbles up on stage and these float past Tillman's thick-beared face. Sadly, after two magnificent hours, the Misty Spectacular ends in the high, punk-rock mess of The Ideal Husband.

We love you Father John Misty, even if you're a dick sometimes. Come back soon.