It appears that the lasting memory of last weekend’s WXPN Xponential Fest will be this: Father John Misty’s very performative non-performance, which felt like nothing so much as a modern of update of Richie Tenenbaum’s meltdown on the tennis court. Although, even though that was a scene in a movie and Misty’s thing happened in the actual world, you could argue that the Baumer was more genuine.
Since this horseshit went down, well, wait. Before we get to the conspiracy theory, let us address the content of Misty’s remarks. It wasn’t that he was wrong about anger being a poor substitute for thoughtfulness even to the point of grave sadness (holy shit we just said it better in half of a sentence than he did in 20 minutes), it was just that something was off about this. Yes, performers aren’t monkeys, they can say what they want, and they absolutely should, but we find, we have always found, Father John Misty to be deeply disingenuous. I mean, that’s his whole deal, right?
Anway. Let’s walk through a scenario. Let’s say you’re Father John Misty (sorry). Let’s say you’ve been in a weird war with Ryan Adams over godfuckingknowswhat for months now (again, sorry). Let’s say you get booked at this XPN thing, it’s just a solo gig for you, and you arrive to realize, fuckin’ hell, Ryan Adams is headlining that same fest, the same night, in the much bigger venue! Again, you are Father John Misty (Jesus, I am so, so sorry), and this does not sit well with you at all. So what do you do?
You throw a fuckin’ tantrum, Father John Misty, that’s what the fuck you do! You pull your release to have your performance livestreamed (which he did in fact do, whereas all other participating artists in the fest allowed for streaming), you freak the fuck out, and then you take that freakout all the way on stage, where you get out of performing this fest by blathering on for however long about everything BUT the thing that is foremost in your mind: RYAN FUCKING ADAMS.
Did this happen? Well, dude, we just don’t know. But it would explain a lot if it did. What would remain a mystery, what will go on, hopefully, to blessedly remain a mystery, is why anyone in this big, beautiful, crazy world would give one dried white turd about any of this. In fact, I have named that dried white turd.
Its name is Father John Misty.