The Piece Hall in Halifax is a Grade One-listed eighteenth century cloth hall, with its stunning architecture providing the perfect setting for a bank holiday weekend concert in glorious sunshine. Father John Misty was the night’s headliner, supported by an amazing line-up of The Orielles, Hookworms and Edwyn Collins.
As a talented young band that hail from Halifax, The Orielles proved to be the ideal opening act. Songs such as ‘Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)’ and ‘Sunflower Seeds’ from their latest album Silver Dollar Moment started the night with a dance-inducing indie pop atmosphere. The Orielles finished their set with their debut single ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’, an eight-minute-long track of experimental guitar riffs and trippy vocals that certainly got everyone moving.
Also from the Halifax/Leeds area are the psychedelic rock band Hookworms who provided the second support of the evening. Hookworms opened their set with the incredible single ‘Negative Space’ from their new album Microshift, an album that beautifully touches on serious subjects such as death, heartbreak and mental-health. Before their set began, lead singer Matthew Johnson lead a short and emotional dedication to Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit who was tragically found dead on the 11th of May. Frightened Rabbit were set to be one of the support acts for this event at the Piece Hall and later that evening the crowd were asked to join in a minute celebration of the life and music of Scott Hutchinson. This proved to be an incredibly emotional moment of the concert yet it was necessary to celebrate such an influential and important figure in music. The evening also included a collection for local mental health charity Andy’s Man Club.
Edwyn Collins was the final support act of the evening. Backed by an incredible band of talented musicians, Edwyn Collins treated the audience to some classics from Orange Juice such as ‘Rip it Up’ and ‘Felicity’. Collins finished on his iconic song ‘A Girl Like You’, well aware that the crowd were eagerly anticipating this number as he stated, “you know what’s coming”. During this song, Edwyn Collins’ guitarist breathed new life into the legendary song through a roaring guitar solo. The infamous riff of ‘A Girl Like You’ lingered amongst the crowd as Edwyn Collins left the stage soon to be followed by Father John Misty.
After the incredible build up, Father John Misty, aka Josh Tillman, finally took to the stage looking effortlessly cool in a casual suit and rose-tinted glasses. The set opened with ‘Nancy From Now On’ and ‘Chateau Lobby #4’ whilst the harmony of the half orchestra’s brass and strings formed the perfect accompaniment. The audience were also treated to new songs from Father John Misty’s latest album God’s Favourite Customer, including the recently released singles ‘Disappointing Diamonds Are The Rarest Of Them All’ and ‘Please Don’t Die’. The 20-song setlist ranged across Father John Misty’s last four albums, further highlighting how prolific a writer he is, especially when considering the new album is barely a year apart from Pure Comedy.
I have been privileged enough to see Father John Misty perform before, and his set at the Piece Hall solidified the impossible notion that he keeps getting better and better. Although Father John Misty has been considered by some as arrogant or evasive, these preconceptions were proved wrong when witnessing his live performance. Father John Misty moved between hitting the high notes to playing guitar and piano, all the while singing about everything from love, to life in a post Trump world. As a lyricist, one of Father John Misty’s standout moments was during ‘Pure Comedy’ as he crooned ‘where did they find these goons they elected to rule them?’ Surprisingly enough, dancing is something else that Father John Misty is pretty good at. During the electronics and flashing lights of ‘True Affection’, Father John Misty showed off some crazy moves with lots of jumping and flailing of his long arms.
Following the encore, Father John Misty played ‘Real Love Baby’, the summery tones being perfect for the late evening atmosphere in such a beautiful setting. The set finished on ‘Ideal Husband’ which got everyone moving as Father John Misty screamed ‘wouldn’t I make the ideal husband!’ amongst flashing lights and even more dancing. This final number proved the perfect end to an amazing yet emotional day of incredible performances at a unique and stunning venue.
Image: Emma Tillman