JEFF PEARLMAN

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Furillo brings it

Furillo goes hard—despite the small crowd.
Furillo (far left) goes hard—despite the small crowd.

So a few hours ago the wife, kids and I cruised through an enormous weekend Asian food festival at the Orange County Fairgrounds. It was cool and yummy and fun, and toward the end Catherine said, “We can get dessert and then watch the music.”

We got dessert.

We walked over toward the music.

What greeted us was the scene depicted above. The song “Young, Wild & Free” was blasting from some speakers atop a stage. A woman in a cap and white T-shirt was doing cartwheels. A guy in a green shirt and jeans was dancing. Another guy stood toward the side of the stage, doing, well, something.

And then, leading the charge, was Furillo.

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I only learned his name toward the end, when I asked someone beneath a tent. It turns out Furillo is a Chicago-based “Hip-House Recording Artist & Music Video Director.” In this case, he was clearly the headliner—barking into a mic, waving his arms, imploring the attendees to sing along; to groove.

And about those attendees: There were, maybe, 15 people watching. Some paying attention, some tapping their feet, some checking their phones or nibbling on chicken. The music was loud, the enthusiasm, eh, less so. But here’s the thing, and it’s important: Furillo brought his A-game. The energy was on XXL. The passion was real and raw. I’ve seen acts respond to a small crowd by giving a small performance, but Furillo wouldn’t have it. He tried soooooo daaaaammmnnn haaaaarrd to get people up and moving. And while that proved to be a near-Herculean task, well, he refused to give up. Refused to quit.

As a guy who has been the name behind some pretty grim book events, I know how it feels to stand before a near-empty room.

Truth be told, I’ve packed it in more than once.

I’m guessing Furillo doesn’t have that in him.

He brings it.

PS: He’s also a pretty strong Instagram follow.