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Monday, December 7, 2015

Live Review: Ezra Furman and The Boy-Friends Keep It "Fluid" at the Rickshaw Stop

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 9:59 AM

click to enlarge CREDIT: MIKE CHOUINARD
  • Credit: Mike Chouinard

Ezra Furman and The Boy-Friends
The Rickshaw Stop
Sunday, Dec. 6

Ezra Furman is a transformative performer. The last time I saw him wield a guitar was in February 2013 at a San Francisco acoustic Sofar Session. He was reticent, solo, and jarringly genuine. He was also dressed as a man in corduroy slacks. This was when he was on the verge of giving up as a touring musician, as he recently admitted in an interview with The Bay Bridged. Three songs would have to hold me over for nearly three years, since he would soon release Perpetual Motion People and blow-up overseas in the UK after being "discovered" by a BBC Radio 6 DJ. This led to selling out 800-capacity venues on international soil within hours.

Last night, at the Rickshaw Stop, Furman was decked out in a short dress, bright lipstick, red tights, and a floral off-kilter baseball cap. He looked damn incredible with a string of pearls wrapped several times around his neck. The Boy-Friends backed him as the touring band, and Tim Sandusky on saxophone especially filled out their triumphantly strange folk. The music is entirely Furman's own, but for reference, you could say he's a less gravely and more joyful Tom Waits or a more socio-weird Jonathan Richman. This was Furman – finally — creatively uninhibited, and it was worth the wait.
Furman is gender fluid and bisexual, and he regularly dresses feminine. He also hates labels. In "Body Was Made" off of Perpetual Motion People, he says the song is dedicated "for the queers." Your body is yours at the end of the day / Don't let the hateful take it away, he sings. Something deeper than his recent wardrobe upgrade has him so ebulliently liberated; his joy is palpable.

In"Ordinary Life" Furman reasons, The human mind gets way fucking sick of beauty /Just cause you're sick of your ordinary life / Doesn't mean you should bottle up and die. Yet the stand-out song ended up being "Wobbly," which featured a staggeringly fun sax solo.

Critic's Notebook:

Furman accidentally kicked off his shoe and flung it at the keyboardist during "Restless Year." Speaking of "Restless Year," the music video is a stop-motion glide through San Francisco. In it, local vocal powerhouse Debbie Neigher makes a dancing cameo.

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Valerie Veteto

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