“I got some excess energy I need to shake off tonight”, a pumped up Ezra Furman growls in the direction of a partisan Glasgow crowd, three songs into tonight’s sold out show at Broadcast.
It’s a thunderous opening triumvirate all taken from 2013’s Day of the Dog, with the E-Street band swoon of ‘Cherry Lane’ kicking proceedings off, followed by ‘Anything Can Happen’ and ‘Maybe God Is A Train’, the latter sending a cluster of front row super-fans into dance frenzy.
Dressed in a blue and red dress and suit jacket, Furman delves further into his back catalogue with B-side ‘Caroline Jones’ and ‘American Soil’ from 2012’s The Year Of No Returning.
It’s an atypical approach holding back tracks from the new record, but a third of the way through the set Furman brings material from Perpetual Motion People to the party, with ‘Hark! To The Music’ kicking things off.
“Something ideal is happening tonight”, the host says, as he removes his guitar (and formal attire) and strides into the crowd to perform ‘Wobbly’ amongst an adoring audience.
It gives backing band, The Boyfriends, the chance to show off their chops, which they do with gusto.
Saxophonist Tim Sandusky in particular is an electrifying presence, peppering Furman’s Velvet Underground influenced rock ‘n’ roll with blasts of brass, and generally acting as Ezra’s hype man, performing backing vocals and tambourine duties with the same diligence as his own centre-stage moments.
With time rapidly running out, Furman ups the ante one last time, with signature track ‘My Zero’ going down a storm, the chorus refrain of ‘Lousy Connection’ (“I don’t wanna be the bad guy”) belted out by a capacity crowd, and the 100mph do-wop ‘Restless Year’ an inevitable highlight, and a suitable way to bring a formidable show to a rousing conclusion.
You get the feeling the crowd would happily watch another hour, and Furman returns for two more, covering Little Richard and finishing for a second time with ‘I Wanna Destroy Myself’.
On a weekend where T In The Park’s showcase act was a play/pause merchant (a fine producer, but no performer) this is a show that reaffirms the enduring power of rock ‘n’ roll, winning over first timers and captivating an already loyal following.
It’s a five-star performance, and at this rate, the last time Furman will have the luxury of performing in such an intimate venue – he’s a special talent; a gender fluid self proclaimed ‘outsider’ with a larger than life punk spirit and – crucially – a string of incredible songs to match.
Words: Craig Angus