Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ezra Furman - BRNDA -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - Feb 9 2016

BRNDA - This fine local four-piece has made its presence known over the past few years and tonight showed that they still have the energy and spirit to create a vibrant set. They sometimes are a little to quirky for me, but that is more a personal preference, as many bands have succeeded with odd components (and with me as well). The core is solid rock music that has some of the style of the Talking Heads done to more of a Feelies pace and rhythm. When they display a well written song, they do sound pretty brilliant and their humor in songs like 'Serious Band' really clicks. You can't go too wrong with this band on any bill, but it was even more of a match tonight and this crowd is revved up for more.
Ezra Furman - Not so much quirky as wildly eclectic is the way of this Chicago songwriter. The songs are a wild mix starting off with Link Wray's Rumble chords and working into various forms of old and new rock'n'roll. His band, 'the Boyfriends' is key as the rhythm section can handle all kinds of classic forms through varied pace and playful runs. The saxophonist adds that old time rock'n'roll touch throughout, while the guitarist/keyboardist is quite busy keeping things fresh and vibrant. Furman has that awkward energy that keeps you attentive and he and the backing vocalists work all ends of the scale. And just when I sense a steady feel of that old time rock'n'roll, he does a Nirvana cover followed by a burning punk pop song sounding just like the Dickies. As great as that was, he moves into his slowest song of the set to follow before rocking out some more. The club was half full but packed up front and digging just about every move. Furman has toured quite a bit lately, which is wise as he is growing his audience pretty quickly. Rightly so.
GoFundMe story of the Night: As fun a time as the two bands provided tonight, I have to bring up yet another sad story to what has become a rather miserable 2016 for music fans watching so many great musicians hit the obituary page. Thankfully this sad event is well short of that and hopefully will be for a long time, but legendary DC front man, John Stabb has been diagnosed with stomach cancer. His classic work with Government Issue has reverberated around the globe and he still has been as stylish and challenging as ever with his latest band, History Repeated. I hope everyone goes to the 'John Stabb Boycott Cancer' GoFundMe page that has been set up to help his family deal with the expenses and challenges ahead. It is off to a great start, but I am sure much more can and will be added to the total. And I hope to see him back on stage some time soon, where he has given all of us so many fabulous memories. Get well soon, John!

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