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Reviews: Woodward Nights Featuring Father John Misty, VHS or BETA, and Justin Townes Earle

Father John Misty, October 28th at Magic Stick

His Opinion...
This was an emotional night for Detroit.  It was Game 4 of the World Series and the beloved Tigers were in danger of being swept.  Father John Misty, otherwise known as Joshua Tillman from Fleet Foxes, walked out on stage and immediately reprimanded concert goers from watching the game on television and went on an extended tirade about how unimportant sports are.  The existential tirade did little to warm the crowd up and boos could be heard.

That was certainly the low point of the show, but things improved from there.  He must have rethought his stance during his opening tune, “Funtimes in Babylon,” because he was a bit apologetic about his initial commentary.  He claimed a cold, I blamed the booze...I’ve been there.

The guy is a talent with a great voice.  For most of the concert he is simply a front man, no instrument.  It’s a bold move, but he does an adequate job pulling it off.  It was a good show, the album is great.  Summer may act like she is so offended by his antics that she will shun him for life, but I’ve heard her listening to it since the show.

Her Opinion...

Father John Misty…Father John Pissy…Father John Hissy.  I’ve been thinking about writing this post ever since the Father John Misty concert ended last week.  Frankly, I’m torn and reminded of a similar problem that my best friend, Grayson, had with a certain Bob Dylan.  As Jeremy previously described, Joshua Tillman, a.k.a. Father John Misty made a completely arrogant, ignorant, and heedless mistake when he chose to berate the crowd at the Magic Stick for having the FINAL WORLD SERIES GAME playing in an off-set corner of the venue.  

To his credit, Mr. Misty, was just hanging around the venue prior to his performance; talking to fans, taking pictures, and looking like a rock star.  I appreciated this about the guy, which was why it broke my little heart when he made his repeated sports-related blunders on stage.  When it was clear that the Tigers were not going to win, my resentment of the good Father increased exponentially and nothing could stop it; not his beautifully clear, ethereal voice, not his killer interpretive dances, and not his wonderful new album…nothing.  

Just as Bob Dylan had scarred Grayson with a poor, uninspired performance, I too felt detached from Tillman and any of his previous or current works.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a Dylan, a Tillman, or a Regis Philbin, you shouldn’t alienate or patronize your fans because of your lofty, elitist, and privileged preferences.  You certainly must not do this when the home team is hanging on for dear life in the World Series, especially in Detroit.

Hearts breaking as the Tigers get swept. 

VHS or Beta, October 8th at Magic Stick

His Opinion...

VHS or Beta in another Louisville, Kentucky band that I used to see in my younger days.  They were in cahoots with My Morning Jacket and usually opened their local gigs and occasionally the members from both bands would get together and DJ at a bar until the wee hours after a live show.

I heard about this show last minute, apparently many others did too because the place was pretty empty.  It was free and sponsored by Killian’s beer.  Those there were treated to a spirited performance, the crowd was powerful in spirit despite the small number.  This is one of those bands that I would always recommend people go and see, especially if it is FREE.  They put on a consistent, upbeat, quality show.  If they make it back to Detroit and you are unsure whether to go or not, make the trek.

Her Opinion...

I felt awkward at this show because the crowd was so small and the space was so big.  However, the people that did attend were enthusiastic and ready to support a great band.  VHS or BETA played an amazing set and gave their heart and souls to the twenty folks that were in attendance.  I’ll ditto Jeremy on everything in his post.  These guys are great and are well worth the listen and the concert.

Justin Townes Earle, October 9th at Majestic Theater 

His Opinion...
I was a bit apprehensive when I heard the Justin Townes Earle show was a general admission seated show.  The only concert I have ever seen with that format was Ryan Adams at the Aladdin Theater in Portland.  It was kind of a nightmare because you had to line up a couple of hours before the show in order to guarantee yourself a good seat in the small venue.
I must admit, I didn’t get to this show early.  We showed up about 15 minutes before Earle’s set started.  The late arrival really was not a hinderance though, the Majestic Theater is such a wide, shallow space that there really is not a bad viewing angle.  We settled in by the bar and enjoyed the show.  He was good, comfortable on stage.  He kept a light banter going with the crowd, mentioned his dad a few times.  He put on a good show.  I would certainly go back and see him again, I’d like to see how the energy might be different in a venue where there were no seats involved as his music really does not require them.

Her Opinion...

I am so happy I went to this show.  Justin Townes Earle an extremely talented country singer who is currently based out of Brooklyn.  He has a more traditional country style, which is getting more rare these days on the country music circuit.  Other than playing a great show he also interacted really well with the large crowd.  Earle has five albums, dating back to 2007, and they are all worth a listen.

Thank you Robert-David Jones for teaching us how
to use our new camera and taking some great pictures.