Ezra Furman @ Stylus 21/10
Ezra Furman looks great in a skirt. And string of pearls. And blue hair. Assembling with “The Boyfriends”, this feisty Canadian graced the stage in Stylus on Wednesday night. Elegantly scuttling on with his band – a mishmash of burly musicians – Furman uttered a meek “Good Evening”, and then plunged into his recognizable fierce, gravelly vocals and bluesy backing. Drawing in what can only be described as a BBC 6 Music crowd (slightly greying, middle aged music explorers) it didn’t take long for everyone to limber up, and Furman to preach his “Rock n Roll heroism”. Having released 3 albums since 2012 (the most recent being this July’s ‘Perpetual Motion People’) he drew material from them all with plenty of saxophone beats. The overall evening was a real performance, with Furman giving little monologues as musical interludes. Introducing ‘Can I Sleep In Your Brain’ he warned that his brain is definitely not a safe place to be. A borderline political performer, he is the epitome of freedom of speech and individuality in this day and age. A definite boogie was had along with the glorious sounds of the bass guitarist, who then marveled at Furman for snapping his guitar strap once again: the perfect intro for the hit tune ‘Restless Year’, for anyone who has ever “felt like a bug on the fur of a sickly animal trying to pluck up the courage to fly away”. A true performer in his own right, and vocals quite similar to the lumbering lyrics of Lou Reed, he concluded with a cover of Arcade Fire’s ‘Crown of Love’ which was magnificent. An acoustic encore of ‘Penetrate’ was bizarrely subtle and beautiful, and after having assembled his “boyfriends”, the gig came to a blistering, saxophone shrouded finale with ‘Tell ‘Em All To Go To hell’.