Ezra Furman - Leeds University Stylus - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Ezra Furman - Leeds University Stylus

by Al Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2011-11-09

Ezra Furman is a bisexual cross-dressing doo-wop punk and an observant Jew. If those bare facts make you drawn to him I think that’s totally understandable: there’s a severe lack of interesting frontmen around at the moment. There are huge Lou Reed parallels of course, and no surprise that Furman was a devoted fan of Reed’s from a young age. It’s not fair to place him entirely in Reed’s shadow though: Ezra Furman is his own man – more flamboyant and demonstrative, certainly a friendlier stage presence.

Surprisingly, Ezra and his band (The Boyfriends) start off with a run of songs not from his new album. ‘

’, is simple, sweet and definitely deserving of a wider audience.

No-one would begrudge him for playing a string of new songs – his latest album is his best by some distance – and when he does they sound great; there’s a reeling, regretful quality to them which suit the band’s sleep-deprived demeanour, particularly hangover anthem ‘

’ has a similar theme and is as incendiary as its title suggests. Later on there’s a doo-wop inspired version of ‘Crown of Love’ by The Arcade Fire, which captures all the beaten-down sadness of the original.

The encore begins with Furman appearing alone for country-plucker ‘

’ to all his fellow humans who get “sidelong looks at restaurants”. Ezra probably got a few if he went out in Leeds afterwards with his ocean-blue hair and claret skirt, but hopefully less than he would have a few years ago, and in a rock scene eternally ruled over by white cishet men, it’s people like him keeping the being different flame alive in the public eye, and hopefully making just a few idiots think before passing judgement.

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