Ezra Furman and The Boy-Friends
Hebden Bridge Trades Club
25th August 2016
When Ezra Furman waltzed on stage in a fetching red dress you could see he was on it launching into a focused version of twisted pop classic Teddy I’m Ready.
Furman’s last album Perpetual Motion People was a real coming of age affair as all his avant-garde influences finally coalesced around some top pop tunes. Furman’s voice is still at times the weakest tool at his disposal, but he gets away with it as the Boy-Friends are a super tight team who just go with his flights of fancy.
Sometimes it feels like Furman has patented neurosis like an indie Woody Allen, but tonight he is in relaxed mood pointing out this ‘this is literally the last town in Britain we have played and I think it is my favourite.’ He said he doesn’t always say that, and you sensed he meant it.
This gig was a winning mix of his pop sensibilities and quite a lot of unexpected blues swamp punk typified by a splendidly primal Little Piece of Trash. But it’s not long before we are back to melody as both Ordinary Life and an especially louche Lost Connection get the audience singing along.
Can I sleep In Your Brain Tonight benefitted from Tim Sanduskey’s punky sax stabs but, frankly, I’m not sure I’d to want slumber too long in Furman’s head, although if there is better pop song than Reddy Teddy? doing the rounds at the moment I’d like to hear it.
Furman is a little unfairly stereotyped as a fey Nooo York intellectual but both At the Bottom Of The Ocean and a trashy Anything Can Happen really rocked as the band took the blues rock up and down at will.
It says lot about Furman’s relaxed state of mind that he wandered back at the end for a couple of solo acoustic numbers that weren’t on the setlist, and his delicate version of the Townes Van Zandt classic To Live Is To Fly was simply jaw dropping. Maybe he should do an acoustic tour which I’d pay money to see.
There was plenty of love in this sweaty room as one slightly overwrought fan shouted out that old gig stand by ‘I love you’, but for once it seemed fitting as this is a significant artist right at the top of his considerable game.
All words by Paul Clarke. You can find more of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War at his author’s archive.