Combine a room full of lonely misunderstood people with manic performer expressing their struggles with identity and the troubles of the world, and something beautiful happens—those feelings of destitution give way to joy and unity. The best live performances draw from a deep well of passion. Whether that passion derives from a place of melancholy, pain, exuberance or ecstasy, the result is usually that of euphoria.
On Sunday night, Ezra Furman and his well-dressed backing band brought a crowd at the Grey Eagle to this state of euphoria. Against a backdrop of classic Springsteen heartland Americana meets 50s drifter rock, Furman’s impassioned wail delivered vivid tales of fragility, gender politics, the life of an outsider. Furman’s latest, Transangelic Exodus, is an ambitious record delivering anthemic hooks with a raw sense of urgency. It draws from a time in which the world feels overwhelmingly consumed by tension, and shines a reflection with detailed precision. In a set clocking in at just over an hour or so which included a cover of Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love,” Furman showcased why Transgelic Exodus is one most vital records of 2018. It’s not easy to expose your raw nerves to crowds on a nightly basis, but in doing so Ezra Furman is a beautiful soul capable and ready to inspire a generation.
Preceding Furman’s bombastic set was Anna Burch who’s quickly making a name for herself with her debut Quit the Curse after prior time spent with Frontier Ruckus and Failed Flowers. Unexpectedly forced to play solo in Asheville after news hit that her bandmates’s dog had passed away, Burch had no trouble captivating her audience. Stripped down to guitar and vocals, album highlights “Bell Isle” and “With You Every Day” remained resonant indie pop treasures.