Justin Furstenfeld may not have invented the concept of “living out loud,” but he certainly embodies it with an enviable zeal. The Blue October frontman has never hesitated to identify his long struggle with a bipolar condition as the main grist for his songwriting mill.
Furstenfeld's original solo persona when he toured alone during Blue October breaks was Justin5591, a reference to his patient number when he was hospitalized after a particularly debilitating breakdown.
Furstenfeld's latest solo jaunt is billed as “Open Book: An Evening with Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October”; the book in question is Crazy Making, Furstenfeld's illuminating account — in art and words — of the inspirations for every Blue October song. The third edition of Crazy Making has just been published, including 100 new pages that update the book to Blue October's last studio release, 2011's Any Man in America. The Open Book tour is Furstenfeld's acoustic celebration of that expansion.
The Open Book shows are an amazing display of Furstenfeld's range as both solo performer and emotional raconteur, easily finding the narrative thread that connects hilarious tales of working in the studio and on the road with heartbreaking confessions of his internal and external torments. Even the most casual Blue October fan will be moved by Furstenfeld's acoustic interpretations (and accompanying stories) of some of the band's most recognizable songs ("Hate Me," "Chameleon Boy," "Schizophrenia"), but it's a safe bet that the fans who show up for Open Book will be anything but casual. Justin Furstenfeld has already altered lives with his songs; with Open Book, he'll affect them even more profoundly with the powerful details of their origins.
JUSTIN FURSTENFELD performs Monday, May 13 with Ashleigh Stone at 20th Century Theatre in Oakley. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.