Father John Misty
With Jenny Lewis
North Carolina Museum of Art
For the second month in a row, I got free tickets to a show I was interested in but for which I was never going to actually shell out the money. Let’s hear it for freeloading!
Not one to pass up freebies, my man Brian drove up from Wilmington to join me in the festivities. We were both on the same page – opener Jenny Lewis was what really mattered here. After rushing through dinner we got to the museum just as she started her set, crisis averted. It had been ages since I last saw her perform, but I was certain it would be a great show. Even with these fairly high expectations, she far surpassed them – that was easily one of the best performances I’ve seen this year (if not longer). Every song she played felt like a hit…if the year was 1981 and country-tinged soft rock was still dominating the airwaves. Lewis is basically a modern version of Linda Ronstadt and Juice Newton, and if you think that is anything but a compliment you need to reexamine your life choices. Additionally: her band was “holy shit” good, especially the lead guitarist that was a Jonah Hill doppelganger (skinny version) – who went full Prince guitar solo at the end of their set. Hopefully she’s been in the studio, because it’s been four years since “The Voyager” and this shit ass world needs new Jenny Lewis songs now more than ever.
Father John Misty was totally and completely…fine. A milquetoast descriptor, sure, but that’s basically how I’ve always felt about him outside of a couple of songs. I was expecting his performance to be a letdown after Jenny Lewis, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I would really struggled to keep my attention on the stage. Jenny would blow most artists off the stage so it’s not entirely his fault, but a downer nonetheless. He started his set with “Nancy From Now On,” aka his best song by a wide margin, aka the only song of his I can name without looking it up. I was definitely stoked that he played it - but it also meant I didn’t have a ton to look forward to for the rest of his performance. Misty & band also played “Mr. Tillman” from his most recent album “God’s Favorite Customer,” another strong track I quite enjoy, but the rest of it was just totally and completely…fine. I will note the rest of the crowd seemed to really be enjoying themselves, and I’m guessing they would rate this performance much higher than my middle-of-the-road take.