KCRW’s World Festival 2
Bloc Party – Bob Mould – Ezra Furman
The sweltering temperatures climbing past the 100-degree mark on an early Autumn night at The Hollywood Bowl didn’t detour Bob Mould, Bloc Party and Erza Furman from giving their all onstage with high-energy and passionate sets of music. Each performance came with its own intensity, fervor, and dynamic. The pacing and approach also varied depending on the act leaving a musical imprint on concertgoers with the artist’s or band’s trademark sound and style.
Bob Mould and his accomplished and tight band went for all full-out sonic assault barnstorming through the veteran artist’s eclectic indie/punk catalog. The whirlwind of a set documented his groundbreaking music in Husker Du, Sugar and his solo work featuring the introspective and somber material from his newest LP, “Patch The Sky” which was played with joy, zest and aplomb live.
The British indie rock band, Bloc Party, with five albums under their belt, including their most current effort, “Hymns,” they are promoting, brought an experiment bent to the music utilizing not only the conventional setup of guitars and drums along with keyboards and synthesizers but featured a myriad of pedals resting the stage floor along with devices used for sampling and looping of vocals throughout the set. A quiet mid-tempo number and some creative, expansive guitar solos were the highlights of their performance. “Helicopter,” the band breakthrough alternative dance hit, off their first album, “Silent Alarm,” got a very enthusiastic and animated response from the audience as they stood on their feet and danced to the infectious grooves.
But it was Erza Furman, who opened KCRW’s World Festival 2, with a brief 30-plus minutes in the spotlight, who stole the entire show with his backing band, The Boyfriends. The blistering and visceral set was compelling, raw and felt very real. Furman has been compared to Marc Bolan, Conor Oberst and Gordon Gano of The Violent Femmes. His highly personalized songs feature his unique and literal viewpoints with a sound that echoed musical touchstones of the past like rough and tumble The New York Dolls, Spector-influenced Ramones and most currently – Bruce Springsteen’s E Street band. To critical acclaim, Furman has released three LPs, “The Year Of No Returning” in 2012, “Day Of The Dog,” in 2013 and “Perpetual Motion People” in 2015. Dressed in a red dress and black lace stockings, Furman was unforgettable and highly original presence onstage. He proudly owned it with confidence and swagger. He also contrasted those self-empowering traits with a moving, achingly vulnerability. Still, it was his strong personal belief that lead him to proclaim and unabashedly tell the audience a few times throughout the set, how great his show is and he has the best band. It wasn’t an empty or gratuitous boast but the apparent truth.
Erza Furman was really a hard act to follow despite the best heartfelt performances put on by Bob Mould and Bloc Party, well-known, talented and established artists in their own right, but overall it was a really strong night of music billed as KCRW’s World Festival 2 at the Hollywood Bowl closing out its Summer season on a high musical note.