Chicago-based, Ezra Furman’s “brazenly rust-tinged croons, the band solders rollicking rockabilly rhythm and love-struck doo-wop sensibility with punk-rock ferocity and immediacy. In a musical alloy as unlikely as it is engaging, Furman finds release for bleeding-heart sensitivity and bloody-knuckled brawls of conscience as he “declares open warfare on jadedness, cynicism and irony.” (Chicago Tribune). He is playing The Earl tomorrow night and joined us for our 5GB series.
What’s the first gig you ever attended?
Barenaked Ladies at the Tweeter Center (now the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre) in Tinley Park, Illinois in summer 2000. I was 14. The Proclaimers opened and I was made aware of the pleasures of “500 Miles.”
What is the best gig that you ever played/performed?
The hard part about choosing a “best gig” is that when you’re on a good tour, you have many nights in a row that feel transcendent, transformative–you are awash in rock and roll magic nightly and incredible things happen often. It’s too much for your brain to remember. The first time I played a really good show, I thought, “This is incredible; I will never forget this feeling.” But I did forget it, because I’ve played better shows since then, nights that were even more alive and on fire.
For some reason, one night is coming to mind from this old place in Babensham, Germany in summer 2010, with the Harpoons. The building was built in the 12th century and it was packed with drunk college-aged kids. The stage was pretty much at floor-level and the lights were super intensely hot so most of us had our shirts off a couple songs in. And we were probably drunk too and there was a wildness to the place and to us, and everyone was hitting these peaks together, a whole room full of people. At one point I just walked out to the middle of the crowd and danced with everyone packed all around me. It was pure crazy joy and ferociousness. You just can’t get that at any other kind of job.
What is the best gig you have ever seen?
That’s a tough one but I know I will never forget seeing The Strokes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in October 2002. They were the coolest band in the world that year, and I was a completely rabid fan. They played for not much more than 30 minutes, but I didn’t care. I brought so much excitement and love for them to that concert, and they expertly deployed ten perfect songs that set me and everyone else on fire. It was as much what I was bringing to the table as what they were: I was head over heels in love with that band, and I’ll never forget that night.
What is the gig you would most like to play?
I want to go on Saturday Night Live and have the horn section at my command.
What would be the lineup for your dream gig?
A chronological history of punk songwriters: Lou Reed opens, followed by Iggy Pop, Jonathan Richman, Patti Smith, maybe Paul Westerberg, Frank Black, and then I close out the night. Actually you might want to reverse that lineup order.
Catch Ezra Furman and his Band, August 22nd @ The Earl