Punk’s not dead, and Ezra Furman is here to make sure you know it. The Chicago native’s band recently stopped by Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. It was a night of unapologetically raw and raucous energy.
Furman, who uses both he/him and she/her pronouns, does not shy away from making music political. She wrote her latest album, Twelve Nudes, as a visceral response to the barrage of soul-crushing politics of the past few years. It was this energy that imbued Furman’s performance at Great American Music Hall. Abandoning the more polished sound of her albums, Furman opted for a much rougher energy for her San Francisco performance. It was this energy that makes her so very compelling.
Dressed in all black and flanked by her band members in red jumpsuits, Furman performed with fervent scream-singing. Starting the show off was “Suck the Blood from My Wound,” which was about as jagged and energetic as you would imagine. Eyes covered with bangs, Furman swayed as she expertly played guitar and poured her soul into the performance.
Furman speaks quite openly about her gender experience. Songs like “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend” and “Body Was Made” are candid accounts of dysmorphia and rebellion against social pressure to adhere to gender norms. These songs triggered the strongest reactions from the crowd, as they joined in on Furman’s catharsis. The emotional cries, along with Furman’s impassioned performance, was a moving testament to the therapeutic power of Furman’s music.
A more mainstream audience has recently found Furman through the Netflix show “Sex Education,” for which she provided the soundtrack. After witnessing her live show, we hope that new audience stays along for the ride. If not, they’ll be missing out. Ezra Furman made the room that night into everything live music should be: radically inclusive, inspiring, and one hell of a party.