Father John Misty doesn't give a damn what you think. Which could prove to be the best thing about him, or his biggest downfall. You see, people from the Northwest want to appear like they too, don't give a damn. But they do. We all do.
Even though Tillman no longer calls Seattle home, his headlining show at the Neptune on Tuesday might suggest otherwise. The room was full of friends and memories for Tillman, who on several occasions told stories of himself and his brother drinking cheap beer and robbing the Chipotle down the street. And while Tillman may no longer be living off tortillas in a crappy apartment near 45th Street, the sentiment remains the same.Tillman is a showman. Whether he's shaking his slender frame, convulsing across the stage on his back or kissing the hand of the star-struck fella in the front row, he's got your attention. Watching him perform - in all his flamboyant, hipster-Elvis-meets-Elton-John-glory - is something you won't forget.
For Tuesday's set, Tillman ran through the twangy collection of liquor-laced tunes that make up Fear Fun, as well as a new track called "Honey Bear, " and a reworking of Canned Heat's "On The Road Again" - the latter two showing the spectrum of Tillman's live performance. Where "Honey Bear," was melodic and sweet, "Road" found Tillman throwing his body across stage with no regard.
But as strange as Tillman is on stage - the dramatic hand gestures, the over the top hip pops, the sarcastic undertones, his performance on Tuesday actually seemed a bit tame. Yes, TAME.
In hindsight, this probably has to do with the fact that he's become more instrumental in his delivery - playing guitar nearly 85 percent of the time (the other 15 percent saved for his sweaty, writhing jaunts that find him wrestling the mike stand across the stage floor). Yet Tillman is at his best when he's cooing in to the mike, a bottle of wine in one hand, a bottle of whiskey in the other, as he literally dances the line of jerk or joker.
It's no coincidence the whole Father John Misty persona is soaked in irony. The name versus the intense sexuality of his songs. The passion of his live show as compared to the "I give zero fucks" attitude he presents. Even the unabashedly sarcastic way he sings "Look out Hollywood, here I come" on opening cut, "Fun Times In Babylon."
It's all meant to show us how uninhibited he is. And sure, it's a bunch of crap. Because we all know he's trying really hard not to try. But his songs make people feel sexy and happy and connected. They make us feel - even if it's just for the moment his hips have us in a trance - that we don't give a damn, either. And that's therapy for the soul.