Father John Misty Is The Rock Star The Electric Folk Scene Desperately Needs

The former Fleet Fox took us to church during his stellar Hangout Fest set.

For years, I liked my folk rock dressed as the Band, wielding at least one mandolin, drenched in honey-sweet harmonies, and possessing all the sass of a down-home hoedown. It’s what I knew, and it’s all I ever I expected. But then Father John Misty took us to church last night during his evening set at Hangout Fest 2015, and suddenly I realized what I’d been missing.

Opening with “I Love You, Honeybear,” the title track to his most recent disc, he took the stage gyrating and sashaying like a grizzly Mick Jagger in H&M dress pants. This was not the preciously reverent folkie I was expecting. He removes his sunglasses to stare down the jumbotron camera with a smoldering look. “I’d like to become inappropriately intimate with all of you,” he tells the crowd— something that definitely wouldn’t have happened at a Lumineers show, or even his former band, the Fleet Foxes.

Although the acoustic guitar was present, tracks like “Only Son Of A Ladies Man” and “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment” flat-out rocked. But the Dylan-gone-electric vibe was broken up by massive inflated swans thrown into the crowd, because #festivals. He eventually dragged one onto the stage, and proceeded to sing a particularly mournful ballad into its eyes. It was a perfect bit of warm self-deprecating parody. At least he doesn’t actually take it all too seriously.

Sure, the guitar tossing and his Roger Daltrey mic-swings might be gimmicks, but the effect is electrifying to me, as well as the lace-and-flannel-wearing crowd do-si-do-ing around me. Many of the festival-goers are busy fist pumping to Skrillex at this same moment, but it’s clear that the electric folk crowd have found their new rock star.

Embedded from www.mtv.com.