My Favorite Show Of ’18 – Now, If Only My Article For ’19 Wasn’t Corrupted. I Rather Liked That One Too.
My Favorite Show Of ’18
I go to a lot of concerts. A. Lot. In the past year I saw Radiohead twice, Nine Inch Nails at Radio City, Queens of the Stone Age in Atlanta for the Shaky Knees festival, and Portugal. The Man at Forest Hills to name only a select few. To list them all would require far too much effort than I have brain cells left for.
Meeting The Act Themselves Before My Favorite Show Of ’18
I like to get twisted up at shows. Like, really twisted up. I can handle myself 90% of the time but I was uncharacteristically sober for The Warsaw’s lineup that night. This was a special show for my fiancee especially, since her 30th birthday was only a tiny amount of time away. We got there very early. Suddenly, there Ezra was, just walking down the block like everybody else in NYC.
After A Sudden Shock
I realized, holy s**t, that’s Ezra Furman. There was a cautious approach. Ezra asked us if we’d seen anyone from security come out the door behind us recently who could let him in. I told Ezra I honestly hadn’t, but pointed in the way of the main entrance and they was off and gone as quickly as arrived. It was odd not seeing him in a dress.
Favorite Show Of ’18? Ezra Furman And The Visions
That’s who we were there to see, Ezra Furman and the Visions. He was touring on his Transangelic Exodus tour (I feel obligated to link to that album here, because god damn! is it one hell of a rock n roll saga).
Listen to this marvel of a concept album ASAP!!
Ezra’s finally beginning to make a very much deserved name for The Visions within the realm of American art. The new Album Twelve Nudes, featuring the first doo wop – esque single, “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend,” fucking rips. My personal favorite track would be “Rated R Crusaders” but I can get into the politics behind that some other time.
Ezra Furman is an EXTREMELY underrated artist who is 7 albums deep (Day of the Dog, anyone?) but is so underground you don’t know who Ezra Furman is until you see the performance with The Visions unfold. Then you’re hooked. Everything is catchy as fuck, the lyrics are beautiful, the artists’ passion so fiery you can’t help but scream with them (even if you don’t know the words).
I had the fortunate opportunity of seeing Ezra one time prior, at the aforementioned Shaky Knees festival in Atlanta. It was hot. Moist. It was Georgia in May. Us Yankees were dying of heat exposure but there was something so enticing about Ezra’s performance that we found ourselves drunkenly sauntering closer and closer as the yelling and thrashing ensued. The heat not seeming to be a factor for Ezra or the incredible backing band. Watching Ezra lose their mind in front of us while cross-dressing and wearing bright red lipstick was right up all our alleys. We all knew who Ezra was but had this performance not been so downright badass, I’m not sure we’d have made the effort to see Ezra in Brooklyn that cold October night. We were hooked.
Anyway, Back In N.Y. . .
As we waited for my favorite show of ’18 that night, I was actually working my way through the 33 1/3″ book on Lou Reed’s Transformer (which is a hell of a read, even if you don’t know Ezra or the famous Lou’s first solo album) recently penned by Ezra. It was an ironic read for the timing, given we were staying in an area one would certainly have avoided in Lou’s day. It was gritty, sarcastic and biting. Ezra did Lou proud. I hope this is realized by the Author. The book really knocks it out of the park.
From Note One It Was A Rockfest.
A certified head bob of an hour and forty or so. In fact, in that picture (from NoneSuch Records) above you’ll see my head to the right in the crowd. Aside from the impassioned performance nearly bringing us all to tears, Ezra lead us all in a Hebrew prayer for a mass shooting which was entirely racially driven and occurred at a Jewish center a week prior. It was a powerful moment. I happen to be Jewish but had no idea what he was actually saying. It made me feel included, though. As if someone actually cared that a mass shooting had even occurred in the first place. And as soon as he brought the room down a moment, he brought it right back up again. The bopping continued in full force.
Meeting The Act Themselves Pt. 2
Another reason why this was my favorite show of ’18 lies in the fact that we met Ezra not only once, but twice! In the same night! As long as we waited for that show, time passed as it always does and before we knew it the performance completed. We decided to make our exit via the bar rather than the main entrance for convenience’s sake. As we approached the doorway, Ezra was visible to our left.
Was just sitting there. Looking a tad bit anxious by the passing fans trying to speak with him. He clearly wanted to just have a post-show drink, so I opted out of approaching him. Having seen him out front was plenty enough in my head. If I was to sit down with him, I’d need some time instead of a casual hello. I’d want to ask him about how his Judaism ties into his music, what his artistic process is like, and why he chose to wear the dress he picked that night. Clearly a deeper conversation than a narrow doorway’s entrance would allow us. That and the whole not knowing me part of it all.
A Must-See Artist
In the end, I believe the intimacy of the performance is part of what made it my favorite show of ’18. The Warsaw is one tiny, tiny ass club. Ezra Furman packed the place out but I don’t believe it was a sold-out performance. Being right up front with little effort is my ideal scenario. I always end up next to the monitors and regret it 3 days down the line, but that’s for Future Chuck to be worried about.
Wants to rock and does not wear ear plugs. No matter the patronage at the venue I’m sure Ezra Furman would have put on the same incredible performance. He’s clearly a man on a punk rock mission. Maybe Ezra doesn’t always know where Ezra’s going but as they pick up more mainstream notoriety, they certainly know where they want to be. If you get the chance to see Ezra Furman and the Visions, NEVER pass it up. I guarantee it will be a good time.
I hope you enjoyed this read and, as always, please feel free to leave any comments within that section of the page. Or, please feel welcome to email me! Keep on rockin’, y’all!