We found ourselves in a packed out Shepherds Bush… Empire last night awaiting the entrance of not only one of the smartest acts around in Ezra Furman but in one of the most hyped bands of the moment in The Big Moon.
As the band of girls from The Big Moon took to the stage in front of what was a very partisan crowd I worried a little that they might be overcome by not only the enormity of the venue, which towers like an old guardian of bygone days, but by the general cultural elitism of the crowd. Luckily though, they were having too much fun to even notice.
Coming out to a crowd of thousands can be daunting, even more so when the crowd are hell-bent on ‘appreciating’ rather than enjoying the music. There were numerous metaphorical notepads and red pen marking systems across the crowd. The Big Moon didn’t have time for this and quickly put their faux 90’s grunge to work against a background of peering down noses.
Hits like ‘Sucker’ and new song ‘The Road’ were gladly digested while the cover of Madonna’s Austin Powers theme song ‘Beautiful Stranger’ was warped in to a dark tale of caution. Although at times you felt you may be watching a band at a High School Prom in the end scene of a teen Rom Com from the 90’s The Big Moon still showed they have enough guile, craft and good sense to make feet move and heads bob. Amongst this crowd that was very impressive.
As we waited for the night’s headline act a sudden realisation of just how packed the venue was descended upon the crowd. There was literally no space to even breathe. The bar was virtually shut out, the stairs full with people try to gain an advantage and a balcony full of (smart) seating patrons watching the mass of hair and shoulders sway – it’s testament to Furman’s recent rise, but more importantly his incredible longevity.
He duly arrived and set about creating his now infamous rapport with the crowd, shyness covering his face as the vessel of the venue looked fit to burst. Furman made good on the promise of the night and delivered many of the tracks from recent album Perpetual Motion People. Favourites such as ‘Tip of a Match’, ‘Lousy Connection’ and ‘Pot Holes’ had the crowd trying to create room enough to dance.
It was an issue that continued throughout the night. Having seen Furman pull down the house at Scala, figuratively and literally, not so long ago it felt very stilted that the fans were not able to join Furman in his incredible performance and instead were kept relatively motionless.
This inability to be allowed to connect with his audience feels even more poignant for Furman. His incredible candidness when speaking about himself and even societal issues has endeared him so fervently to the heart of his audience that it felt like robbery that he couldn’t enjoy fully one of his biggest UK dates.
Furman then may be a victim of his own success, the volume of people would testament to that, but it’s a success he wholeheartedly deserves. Beguiling writing coupled with the kind of music that makes you compelled to share a dancefloor, a laugh or even love – he is one of the best in the business right now.
Basically, Shepherd’s Bush wasn’t big enough for him.