Written by Matt Salter
Ezra Furman put in a powerful performance at Lustre Pearl in Austin, Texas on March 15. Their show was part of the music lineup of South by Southwest (SXSW, if you’re nasty), Austin’s yearly celebration of all things art, music, and tech.
Furman is one of the most consistently interesting and compelling voices in the indie-pop scene today. Their show at the Pearl was characteristically vital, just the right mix of indie twang, punk punch, and intensely personal poetry.
If there was a downside to Furman’s performance, it may have been that the music didn’t quite fit the room. Lustre Pearl was classic Austin on the 15th, a freewheeling, slightly vague crowd pointing their collective attention at everything from dates to drinks to several games of ping pong in front of the outdoor stage. Furman kept the crowd moving, but scattershot attention meant the Pearl never quite established the intimacy of Furman’s best shows. It wasn’t helped by a substandard mix that blurred Furman’s needle-sharp lyrics and almost all of their between-song patter, muffling their strengths.
All the same, Furman is a pro and a compelling performer. At their best, Furman’s heaviest moments recalled early Liz Phair and their most intimate phrases hit listeners squarely in the feels. Furman at the Pearl felt like an indie show: imperfect, passionate, sincere. In the latter years of the festival, with SXSW feeling more and more like Hipster Davos where the elite meet to talk tech, manifest money, and occasionally nod toward a band, that’s a rare and welcome vibe.
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