Father John Misty Declares “Entertainment is Stupid” at XPonential Festival

July 23, 2016

Matthew Shelter

Father John Misty has a series of solo gigs lined up over the weekend beginning with Camden, NJ’s XPonential Festival. Josh Tillman opted to use his time yesterday in New Jersey to rant about the current state of the world, only performing two songs (including Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire”) and cutting his set dreadfully short. 

A person in the audience sent the following account to Stereogum saying that Tillman “immediately proceeded to talk semi-coherently for about ten minutes” and some of his assertions were “met with boos from the audience.” Read the account below. 

When Father John Misty took the stage today, he immediately proceeded to talk semi-coherently for about ten minutes, during which he proceeded to question the crowd on whether or not we deserved to be amused and what entertainment is. This was met with boos from the audience.

Following that, he played a new/improvised ~10-minute song that referenced various things at the festival as well as its own length. He then played a Leonard Cohen cover “Bird On A Wire,” that was requested from the crowd. After that, he aimlessly talked about a battleship that was docked in the river behind him. Then he said he was done and left the stage with more than half of his time remaining, having played only 2 songs (0 of them being Father John Misty songs). In addition, about 5 minutes after his set, while leaving the stage in a van, I saw him laughing hysterically, as if he were incredibly proud of his performance. In addition, following his set he tweeted out the phrases “Pure entertainment” and “Amused to death,” referencing his actions on stage.

Videos have begun to surface of some of Tillman’s set including the one below where he asks the crowd, “How entertaining should this be right now with a battleship in the background and this shit happening on TV? How fucking fun should this be? How fucking fun can it be? Can it be real in any sense? I cannot play ‘Bored in the USA’ for you right now. No no no.” 

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