Review: Father John Misty Brings Chloe and the Next 20th Century to Roxian Theater

Friday night I went to see Father John Misty, a concert that I was really looking forward to attending. The concert was held at the restored Roxian Theater in McKees Rocks. This was my second visit to the Roxian and I am  more charmed by it each time I visit. This time I found free parking! After entering the theater I bought some popcorn (I love the fact that I can buy popcorn, one of my all time favorites, at a show) and headed upstairs to the balcony where I had been given access. The balcony has seating which is very nice. A lot of the older folks like me who attended the show (thankfully I wasn’t the only oldster in attendance) were in the balcony. 

Now for the show. I saw Father John Misty a while ago and really liked that concert so I was glad to be able to see him again. HIs opening act was very interesting. This tall, very thin man came strolling onto the stage wearing a flowing shirt with a heart pendant on a chain, very large denim bell bottoms and black high-heeled boots. HIs/their name was Loren Kramar, and man, did they have some pipes! Their voice was powerful and melodic. Because I’m not a professional reviewer or singer, it’s hard to describe voices but they had a very nice singing voice. They also had stage presence and a great swagger. I looked them up on the “internets” and they have an album out. One thing I like about attending concerts is I get exposed to opening acts that often I wouldn’t know about. This was one such case, I had never heard of Loren, so I might just check his album out.   

After Loren’s set, Father John Misty took the stage to rapturous applause. His band consisted of two saxophone players/trumpet players, an upright bass, multiple keyboard players and multiple guitar players plus a drummer. The band was tight and excellent, with multiple songs featuring an electric guitar solo. (I read somewhere that Father John Misty was one of the people bringing back rock and roll.) I will note that I now notice more whether there are women or people of color in bands. All the members of this band were white males. It would be nice to occasionally see women and people of color.  

Father John Misty came onstage around 9 PM and played until close to 11 and then had at least a 15 minute encore. Like Loren, Father John Misty also strode  onto stage with a lot of swagger and he definitely has stage presence stalking one end of the stage to the other while speaking with the audience. The audience was ecstatic, clapping and cheering after every song. At one point, when people could be heard talking, the rest of the crowd quickly shushed them. And I gotta say, it felt good, cathartic to be in an audience again after the pandemic made us all lonely and isolated.   

He sang several songs from his latest album, Chloe and the Next 20th Century, a very 1920’s/1930’s sounding jazz album (he joked that this was written during the pandemic when there wasn’t anything to write about and so much to write about), as well as old favorites like I Love You, Honey Bear, Hollywood Cemetery Forever, and Real Love. The songs veered from apocalyptic to love songs in a conversational manner. The only critique I have of the concert was that sometimes his band, which was very good, overwhelmed his singing so that I couldn’t make out some of what he was singing. The several numbers he did minus the band were superb and easy to hear. 

The show was sold out, and with good reason, his music is really good. I was lucky to be able to see him again and I hope to see him again. 

Father John Misty





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