Ezra Furman basks in the weird and beautiful realm of bluesy punk in an epic show at the Brudenell. With no support and an almost two-hour set, Furman pulls off this ambitious task and proves his place as one of music’s most theatrical and captivating live performers.
Furman is an enchanting presence; wide-eyed and gasping over every word, he seems fraught with restless energy and a desire to please. It’s exactly that which he achieves in a set that meanders through a versatile range of twists and turns. He seamlessly shifts between the dark and contemplative (‘No Place’) and tongue in cheek jaunty bops (‘Suck The Blood From My Wound’). One of the fascinations of Furman’s work lies in its abstract and complex tendencies; while crafting many a catchy tune, Furman also manages to address and question issues of religion, sexuality, disassociation, and gender in his lyrics.
Furman’s wry humour doesn’t go amiss either. He smirks coyly as he begins the first few chords of the suggestively titled, ‘Peel My Orange Every Morning’. “These are all classics, you just don’t know it yet”, he offers as an introduction to the material off the new album, Transangelic Exodus. It’s an evening of firsts as Furman admits to having never played some of the songs on the album to a live audience. There’s some unusual choices as Furman shreds through a Bruce Springsteen cover and later an impassioned version of Kate Bush’s stomping ‘Hounds of Love’, but it’s the nostalgic ‘My Zero’ that wins the highlight of the night. We’ve seen the many faces of Ezra Furman this evening; you can’t help but think of how exhausted he must be.