Father John Misty, The Civic Theater

He has the  dance moves most frontmen only think they have, dramatically collapsing one pose and making a fluid transition into another. His performance conformed to a wavelength, as if it was pre-programmed and projected onto the stage. There was that lightweight scarf he had on his shoulders, though, a prop that provided a drag of texture to his movements, following after him whether he was shaking his fist or skating away towards the corner of the stage to lean out and offer the ready crowd a better look at his long neck and how it disappeared down into his half-open shirt.

He spun, he pump faked, he kept the needle between frivolity and sincerity, and his voice never wavered even as he shook his guitar as a sign for a tech to come running and grab it, even as he made exemplary gestures of begging. He played at begging from the crowd, he worked at begging from the subject of his song, and the music fit both shapes.

His heat filled the theater, and couples from the front pit to the dark back corners shared the same spectrum of intensity, singing along to the songs, giving the lyrics to each other, letting his live voice magnify the private meanings they’d assembled from them. He fit that stage and that audience, a man in black preaching modern romance in a white-walled palace, urging on the devotees until the teal strobes took him from their presence.

Outside the theater the crowd pulled apart, revealing the edgy singles who were hidden among the glitter-eyed pairs. They looked determined but edgy, reaching for their phones, about to make a decision about which downtown intersections to head for, which voice to pursue next.