Even before Ezra comes on there are two things which caught our attention. The first was the diversity of the crowd, a real mix of people. This is something which is really great to see in this world where music crowds can prove so stereotypical for some artists. The other thing we noticed was that Ezra watched all of the set of opening act The Big Moon, again there is something heart warming about that. (As an aside The Big Moon are a band to keep your eye out for …the British Hinds maybe?!?).
There is no doubt, however, that the star of the night is Mr Furman himself. Hitting the stage in his almost trademark outfit, cap, red lipstick, skirt he immediately engages the crowd. The whole set is surprisingly rock n roll helped by opening with the instantly recognisable “Restless Year”. He is also helped by clearly having a wonderfully talented band which includes the somewhat unique, these days at least, focus on a saxophone player.
Songs like “Caroline Jones” seem to match perfectly with the mood of the crowd, who are clearly up for a good time. The songs range from the more dirty sounding “And Maybe God Is A Train” which has a bit of a burlesque\cabaret feel through to the Ramones esque punk rock of “Hark! To The Music”.
The majority of the tracks come from his most recent release “Perpetual Motion People” and “Haunted Head” has the crowd singing along before they go mental for “Wobbly”. The introduction of a new song called “Teddy I’m Ready” suggests that there is still a lot more to come from him. Whilst “Pot Holes” is just fun, funky, rock n roll at it’s best.
Whilst, somewhat diminutive in stature, Ezra has an engaging character and is a great live act. This helps to get the crowd swaying to “Lousy Connection” and then jumping along to “Ordinary Life”. He really does have the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand and totally absorbed. Once “Body Was Made” is played, you would be very hard pushed to find a group of people having a better time on a Tuesday night than those at this gig. No mean feat on a cold and wet, Tuesday night in Birmingham!!
The encore sees us treated to possibly one of the campest (with full sax solo) but best covers of Nirvana’s “In Bloom”. It all then ends up in a fitting party, rock n roll, style with “Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell”.
It may be very early in 2016, but you get the sense that this is already an early candidate for one of the gigs of the year. It had the feel of an almost greatest hits set and generated one of the best crowd feelings we have seen in years. It must also be said that the venue played a part in this, the lack of barriers between the stage and the fans immediately allowed a better connection to be made. You can’t help feeling that in a short time Ezra is destined to be playing much bigger, less personal venues than this. If you want our advice, you will make sure you catch him at a show very soon… you won’t regret it!