Ezra Furman’s Stunning Performance at Jacks

Last Tuesday, Ezra Furman and his band finally made it to New Orleans for the first time on their way to SXSW.  They were greeted by a small but incredibly attentive crowd.  I love nights like this – when shows are early in the week and between holiday events – the audiences become a bit more focused.  There weren’t many random tourists wandering in to see Jacks, this night was about Furman and his band.  It seems a bit criminal that an artist like Furman, who has spent much of his life and career subverting dominant assumptions around gender and identity, was just making here for the first time.  He did, however, seem quite at home.  This set was frankly astonishing.  As powerful as Furman’s voice is on his records, in person it is something else altogether.  He draws the audience in and creates a space of intimacy punctuated by these eruptions of joy and sorrow.  The tracks from his recent release Transangelic Exodus seem to work even better on stage as their ferocious energy is mirrored by Furman’s own giving over of himself to the songs and characters he inhabits.  For his encore Furman came out by himself and played a remarkable cover of Springsteen’s “Thunder Road.”  The aggressive nature of the cover when juxtaposed with Furman’s own feminine characteristics and mannerisms stood both explicitly as a critique of the default masculine positions of these older pop tropes and as a nod back to the musical traditions that he is riffing upon on this current record.  The idea of the open road as an escape is transformed on Transangelic Exodus and that transformation was read back on “Thunder Road” in turn – a magnificent moment.  Hopefully, we’ll get to see Furman and company back through town soon.




Hogs For The Cause

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of Hogs for the Cause.  Last year the event moved out to its new home at the Lakefront Arena and greatly benefited from the expanded footprint.  This event consistently has some of the best food of any festival in the city and of course it’s all to fight pediatric brain cancer.  Friday For Bacon Night you can catch Sweet Spirit, The Band of Heathens, N.M.O. (North Mississippi Osborne), Iko Allstars, Spafford, and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.  Saturday is the day of the cook-off and you can catch Son Little, The SteelDrivers, Tyler Childers and the Turnpike Troubadours.  As of now, the weather looks to be perfect so get out and enjoy some delicious pork and fantastic music.


To Do This Week

Tonight Hogs kicks off with their Gala featuring Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and Band of Heathens at the Lakefront Arena.  Sunday The Weeks and Caroline Rose roll into Gasa Gasa.  Tuesday checkout Alex McMurray at the Circle Bar.  Wednesday Broken Social Scene are at the Joy Theater with The Belle Game. 


To Listen This Week