Live Music + Gig Reviews

Ezra Furman + Modern Woman @ Hare & Hounds, Birmingham

29 August 2023

Despite heading towards touring hiatus, fiery intensity leaves her audience hanging on every word

Ezra Furman

Ezra Furman (Photo: Tonje Thilesen)

Ezra Furman’s show at the Hare & Hounds sold out pretty quickly after tickets went on sale – a rare feat for a Birmingham show. For context, one long established US indie rock band was seen to play to 20 people in the same venue six months ago. So she’s definitely got an audience round these parts. A bonus part of the draw was the announcement of hotly-tipped, London-based indie band Modern Woman as the support act.

Naturally, Modern Woman played to a packed room – who all cheered and applauded with genuine enthusiasm throughout their set. Lots of the songs they played were new ones (not named by the band), but it’s clear what kind of band they’re trying to be. Some of their songs have a striking resemblance to Dry Cleaning (try their most recent release Achtung) whereas their older material is more progressive (Offerings is a particular highlight), but it’s clear that they’re a few weeks in the studio with Dan Carey away from being the Next Big Thing.

When it came time for Ezra Furman’s performance, there was a palpable sense of real excitement in the room, despite the almost unbearable heat. Furman kicked off the night with Train Comes Through and Throne, both highlights from most recent album All Of Us Flames, setting the stage for what would be a highly emotive and cathartic performance.

The standout moments were a fiery rendition of Gloria, originally by Patti Smith via Van Morrison’s Them, during the encore. Furman’s interpretation added a reckless intensity to the already iconic song, and the audience couldn’t help but get lost in sincere, passionate delivery. Throughout the set there were moments of moody introspection, as seen in the haunting Dressed In Black and the captivating Maraschino-Red Dress $8.99 At Goodwill – a song prefaced by Furman telling the audience the dress she was wearing was bought from a shop over the road from the venue for £4.

My Teeth Hurt was another high point, delivered with a level of intensity that left the audience hanging on every word. The performance of this song in particular was an unexpectedly visceral experience. As the night continued, the energy remained high with tracks like Point Me Toward The Real and Suck The Blood From My Wound, eventually culminating in the aforementioned Gloria and What Can You Do But Rock ‘n’ Roll.

It was a fantastic show for all in attendance, except for a couple of heartbroken girls who were desperate to get Furman to acknowledge a sign they had made requesting their favourite song. With this being Furman’s last performance in Birmingham before her self-imposed hiatus from touring, it’s obvious why they were so disappointed. Hopefully they, like the rest of the room, will look back at the gig with fond memories.

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More on Ezra Furman
Ezra Furman + Modern Woman @ Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
Ezra Furman – All Of Us Flames
Ezra Furman – Twelve Nudes
Ezra Furman – Transangelic Exodus
Ezra Furman: That’s When It Hit Me @ Barbican, London