It’s not exactly cold in Chicago right now. But, everyone still wears jackets. Don’t leave home without it, as the old adage goes. So, things got pretty sweaty at The Hideout last night. Under balmy white Christmas lights, dozens of locals packed the pocketed venue, which seemingly capitalizes on your grandmother’s old den. Wood paneling lines the walls, there’s a fucking array of knickknacks everywhere, and a DIY banner atop the stage. It’s exactly the sort of place that births neighborhood legends. Y’know, like Ezra Furman & The Harpoons.
“Can’t you imagine this action in stadiums,” Furman sardonically asked deep into the gig. “Not gonna happen, ladies and gentlemen.” Fame hasn’t necessarily swept under the Chicago-turned-West coast outfit, but they’re heroes in the ol’ 312, which partly explains why the frontman (and king of desultory comments) sighed in relief, “It’s good to be home.”
Furman’s a character. He is. The proudly Jewish singer-songwriter doesn’t carry a Generation X card on him – he’s actually quite young, which only adds to his rapturous aesthetic – but he could. He starts shows in dresses, his raspy snarl juggles a pair of sunglasses over his eyes, and he floods the stage with sarcasm. He’s just dripping with the stuff. Just one of many examples of on-stage banter: ”Yeah, we’re a rock ‘n’ roll band. We’re one of those.”
Photo by Phillip Roffman
But he plays well. Despite a forthcoming solo LP, last night’s set pulled from the band’s latest LP, this year’s exceptional Mysterious Power. No problem there. “Bloodsucking Whore”, the piano-laden title track, and that soul burner of an album opener (“Wild Rosemarie”) flat out hit hard. Mixed amongst classics like “Take Off Your Sunglasses” or “Big Deal”, the whole set came off as rather permissive. Fans even demanded an encore. “This is the most fun thing to do,” Furman slurred, staring off into who knows what. “Form a band. Form a band tonight.”
No doubt someone will. That’s just how this stuff works.
Photography by Phillip Roffman.
?? (“Play this song on the radio…”)
Hard Time in a Terrible Land
Take Off Your Sunglasses
The Stakes Are High
Doomed Love Affair
I Killed Myself But I Didn’t Die
I Wanna Be Ignored
We Should Fight