Gig review: Ezra Furman, Glasgow School of Art

Ezra Furman
Ezra Furman
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EZRA Furman is bashful in his silky dress and blue rinse, confessing to nerves, despite or maybe because of facing a room of adoring acolytes who were also rather shy in their appreciation, creating awkward silences between songs when no one really knew what to say. It’s like that when you are besotted.

Ezra Furman | Rating: ****

Glasgow School of Art

This young Chicago guitar-slinger has been disarmingly open about his anxieties in interviews and through his music, which habitually marries angsty, depressive lyrics to catchy, upbeat tunes such as Wobbly, his very sweet exploration of mental health and sexual identity – “I’m just glad they left me alone because now I can find the truth of me” – which submits the diagnosis and the cure in one glorious catharsis. He’s like Woody Allen in a dress playing the early, funny films.

“This is American music,” he announced. And how. Furman mines his country’s freewheeling musical traditions with effortless aplomb. He has a particular predilection for low-slung rock’n’roll with a strong pop instinct, making the Velvet Underground influence explicit by opening his set with a cover of Rock’n’Roll.

But he also tackled the blues on And God Is A Train, coming over like a strangulated Tom Waits, and regularly called upon his excellent band The Boy-Friends to join him in doo-wop harmony. There is even a touch of Springsteen in the mix, thanks to saxophonist Tim Sandusky, who must be the indie Clarence Clemons. On this lovable, infectious form, Furman was born to run.