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Ezra Furman – Nottingham Glee Club, 18th November 2015

received_10206009547972637Ezra Furman has never been the most conventional of artists. Indeed, we have already been buried five numbers deep before we even approach anything from his remarkable new album, Perpetual Motion People, from earlier this year. In fact, the whole day experience was rather unusual…

Just a cat’s whisker away from the hustle and bustle of Nottingham’s city centre is the Glee Club, a prettily located canalside venue. Handily, it’s also one of the friendliest establishments of its kind on the live circuit. We were greeted upon arrival by Glee Club promoter, Markus Sargeant, an amicable man responsible for much of the Midlands’ burgeoning music and comedy scenes. In fact, it’s got to be said – Nottingham on the whole appears to be one of the most affable cities in the UK right now, from its students to its workers to its born and bred residents, all of whom were more than happy to help us when we lost our bearings in a frantic search for a pre-show curry (I can heartily recommend The Curry Lounge on Upper Parliament Street, should there be any avid connoisseurs of Indian cuisine out there).

The refreshing hospitality didn’t stop there either, as even the venue’s security bent over backwards to advise my trusty sidekick, accomplished GIITTV lensman Paul Reno, on the best places to stand, granting access to the balcony and in general being more helpful than could reasonably be imagined. And don’t even get me started on the 1970’s drinks prices!

Opening for Furman was London all girl four piece The Big Moon. Looking for all the world as though they were going to bounce harmonious Staves-like melodies off the walls, they let rip with some blistering, devil-may-care indie-pop rock that was sometimes like an amalgam of Elastica and Belly, and included amongst their set a delightful, rip-roaring version of Madonna‘s ‘Beautiful Stranger‘. Ones to watch in the very near future, methinks.

IMG_2062And so to Ezra himself, resplendent in blue rinse and dressed like your rebellious aunt Lucy. Initially eschewing the sparkling party pop of the present in favour of obscure(ish) flipsides like ‘Caroline Jones‘ (“they told us to go away and write a hit single, so we did. But then we decided to not even put it on the album, and used it as a B-side instead!“) and earlier album tracks, he and his band The Boyfriends are easily some of the tightest performers out in showland right now, yet somehow manage to sound pleasingly ramshackle at the same time.

And Maybe God Is A Train‘ was a highlight, having been given a jerky, jitterbug workout of Tom Waits proportions (“we changed this one around quite a lot, just in case anyone was starting to like it too much“) before Perpetual Motion People was finally acknowledged with the pseudo-Bowie-isms of the sublime ‘Haunted Head‘. Biggest cheers of the evening – bar encores – came courtesy of ‘Wobbly‘ and ‘Lousy Connection‘, but quite frankly, the whole thing was as close to perfect as could be.

It was said of Janis Joplin on many occasions that part of her genius lay in the fact that she was able to sing in chords, such was the throaty cackle of her delivery, but I fancy that Ezra Furman could have given her a real run for her money on that front. The frontman oozed charm in his unassuming between song pre-ambles too, occasionally starting to say something but forgetting his point halfway through. These very human shortcomings only served to endear the artist still further to his audience and as a result, the evening was a jubilant and euphoric one in which both parties merely wanted the other to succeed. “Let’s just take a moment to rejoice in the fact that we..are all..alive!“, surmised our discerning performer during a hushed moment, and you just know he meant it.

After the show, Ezra emerged from his dressing room to pose for photographs, sign merchandise and chat with whichever fans remained in the hall. THAT is the mark of a true professional who values and appreciates his audience. Ezra Furman – explosive performer, songwriter extraordinaire and a true, true gentleman.

Photo credit: Paul Reno

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.