The last time I saw Ezra Furman, he was in his underwear.
Performing, no less. The mad Evanstonian -- one of the most visceral singer-songwriters I've encountered in this city -- stepped onto a bare stage during the South by Southwest music festival in 2012 in Austin, Texas, nearly bare-assed, wearing only socks and boxer briefs. The rest of him was just the same -- wild eyes, spasmodic moves, an unnerving earnestness.
"I was incredibly tired," Furman recalls. "That probably influenced the decision. Plus, that kind of environment needs a little ridiculousness."
At the time, Furman had just relocated to the Bay Area and self-released a new solo album with a title related to his exodus from the Chicago scene: "The Year of No Returning."
One year down, and he's returned -- sort of.