“You look lovely Ezra!” screams a couple in the front row as Ezra Furman bounds onto the stage, dressed in a skirt and leggings wearing some very bright pink lipstick. Ezra Furman broke through in 2013 with Day of the Dog and has been on the up since. His latest albumPerpetual Motion People that came out in 2015 has brought him even more success with plenty of critical praise and an ever-growing fan base.
There’s definitely a reason why the Guardian labeled him ‘the most compelling live act you can see right now’ back in 2015, as soon as Ezra and his band burst into bouncy set-opener Restless Year you could tell you were in for one hell of an evening. The night doesn’t stop pleasing as they tear through an intense set. The particularly emotional renditions ofCan I Sleep In Your Brain and Walk on in Darkness were definitely highlights as well as an impressive cover of Nirvana’s In Bloom, which is strangely suited to Ezra’s unique vocals.
When his band departs the stage for a slowed down solo 10 minutes, he explains to the crowd that it’s for “all those people like me who often feel ill in crowds, I don’t know about you but soft songs make me feel better”. His honesty is as disarming as his outfit. This continues throughout the night and before he leaps into a fiery rendition of I Wanna Destroy Myself he opens up to the crowd about his own self-destructiveness and depression, which are both themes that come up a lot during the set both in his songs and in conversation between him and the crowd. An Ezra Furman gig leaves you feeling emotionally cleansed as a man in drag screeching happy rock songs about depression can often do.
The set, which blew me away from start to finish, ends with a battle cry against the haters in the form of Tell Em All To Go To Hell which brings band and crowd together one last time before Ezra skips off the stage to rapturous applause.