It was one for the books – a show I will never forget, and a feeling I’ll always treasure.
“Ezra is Jewish and genderfluid.”, according to the brief and blunt description of his personal life on Wikipedia, but Ezra Furman is more than that. He is an undeniable talent that reminds you why you fell in love with music in the first place.
Ezra Furman & the Boy-Friends (post Ezra Furman and the Harpoons), were an ensemble of misfit toys on the Rough Trade stage last Wednesday night – but in the best way possible. With an injured guitarist, jet-lag that was dismissed by adrenaline, and a later-than-usual set time, the boys finally made their way back to Amurrica after touring in Europe for two years, to support the recent release of Perpetual Motion People. Although the greatness of the album did not surprise me, their live performance snuck up on me like a guy at a bar who’s actually not creepy and kind of cute.
The set was mostly comprised of songs off the new record, including the infectious single “Lousy Connection”, “Hark! To the Music”, “Wobbly”, “Tip of a Match”, “Body Was Made”, and my personal favorite, “Ordinary Life”. Ezra also took it back to his previous record, Day of the Dog, with tracks like “I Wanna Destroy Myself”, “My Zero”, “And Maybe God is a Train”, and of course, “Day of the Dog”. For the long-time Ezra fans, he also preformed “Mysterious Power” (from his The Harpoons days). Overwhelming crowd cheer brought the band back on stage with a cover of Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” as their encore.
In his velvet sailor shorts, striped polyester sweater, and lipstick that matched, Ezra Furman didn’t just make the crowd dance – he made them feel. By taking every opportunity possible to basically say “fuck the haters”. the modestly wise Ezra so obviously wore his heart on his sleeve through every word sung, and said. When an artist gives so much to the audience, you can’t help but give it all right back. It’s that unbreakable bond and emotional connection a musician has with their music, and conversely, a musician with their audience.