Ezra Furman and The Boyfriends at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Ezra Furman is a juxtaposition of visuals as he takes to the stage in a yamulke, a pearl necklace, fishnet tights and a rather fetching midlength black-and-red dress. His sound matches this mishmash of ideas with the punky I Wanna Destroy Myself, the upbeat pop of Caroline Jones and the early rock sound in Lousy Connection.
As he walks onto the stage, Furman’s slight frame and shy manner betray his nervousness. This only lasts until he begins to sing and his powerful voice commands the audience, who are immediately under his spell, as his earnest vulnerability shines through in his pained raspy falsetto.
At times there are hints of Bob Dylan in both his delivery and the depth of his lyrics. This is particularly evident when he sings acoustically, accompanied only by his guitar and occasionally by a keyboard. He is moving and striking, and the purity of his voice can be heard unencumbered. His ability to switch from this softness to gritty punk without affecting his vocals is also impressive.
Furman’s varied musical influences reflect his varied subject matter. He touches on issues like gender identity, love, loss, boredom, and apathy. For example, Body Was Made is a 50s rock anthem that he wrote for himself when he became tired of his gender identity and body issues. It is a strong statement against society’s expectations, embodying the rebellious nature that sparked rock’n’roll.
The encore is a riotous affair, with the whole band letting loose and really going for it on Lousy Connection. They release a cacophony of sound that rides through the audience on a wave of pure euphoria. The disjointed ska beats and the triumphant joy each of them unleashes in these final moments sum up the general atmosphere of the whole concert: wild, haphazard and free.
Photos: Zak Macro
For further information about Ezra Furman and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Restless Year here: