Ezra Furman – Academy – Live Review – 20-10-15
Due to phenomenal demand Ezra Furman was moved to the Academy from the original venue of Whelans, or so the blurb says. He certainly is a man on the rise, with his new album getting mentioned in all the right circles. It was a night to see if the live performance could live up to the recorded. It was always going to be quite a challenge, but the man in the red dress was more than ready.
The band arrived on stage at the surprisingly early time of a quarter to nine, looking like an average crew, four guys in denim and leather. I’m not sure what I expected from Ezra’s band, but it wasn’t this, maybe something like the New Power Generation. I guess the comparison with the other band members only made him more glamorous. The arrangement was a relatively standard with guitar, bass and drums with occasional keyboards and saxophone.
After the first few songs, Ezra told the audience that Dublin still felt a little ‘God Troubled’. I guess it’s still true, but hopefully we’re getting over it. It served as an introduction to ‘And Maybe God Is a Train’. Each song had a short introduction, letting us know what was the inspiration behind them. The early songs were mainly slow, with the inspiration often depression, homelessness and suicide. He doesn’t strike you as a troubled soul, but it is there in the lyrics if you care to dig.
The later part of the set moved to his more up tempo songs, which are a joyous affair, with songs such as Tell ’em All to Go to Hell and My Zero. Wobbly was the song where he really lost it and was possibly the highlight of the night. In the introduction to ‘My Body was made’ he described it as a body positive song.
‘Your body is yours
At the end of the day
And don’t let the hateful
Try and take it away’
The set finished with his biggest hit Lousy Connection. The encore featured his cover of the Arcade Fire song Crown of Love, which started as a torch song before getting a little crazy. His voice is a joyously vulnerable rasp and only adds character to anything he says. The night finished just before 10pm, which did feel a little unusual. On another night it would have bothered me, but in truth this was indie pop at its best and he sent the crowd home humming.