I could almost taste the perfection in the crisp autumn night as we elbowed and pushed our way to the front of the crowd, accumulating a number of dirty looks and even a few shoves back. We were press. We needed to be up front. No questions asked. We stretched out already aching legs as we impatiently awaited Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. At this moment, the mechanical bull that people were riding for free was much more captivating than being jam-packed between dozens of sweaty, drunk people.
Since the release of their song “Home,” Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have continued to grow in popularity. Despite their name being a mouthful and having 10 band members, the band’s indie-alternative vibe has a universal appeal. The band started when singer Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe) met fellow singer Jade Castrinos outside a café in Los Angeles.
As soon as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros walked on stage, the band charmed the audience. Opening with “Man on Fire,” they had the audience immediately. I could feel the beat of the drums resonating through my body, filling my chest with music. It’s a struggle to explain how this song made me feel. It was one of those I-just-want-to-throw-my-hands-up-and-dance moments. The drunken crowd disappeared. The blinding lights didn’t mater. It was just me, them and the music.
Throughout the show Ebert became one of us: asking the audience what they wanted to hear, jumping down into the mosh pit of people to sing along with them, tossing the microphones into the crowds and borrowing handkerchiefs from fans. Drunken and sober bodies swayed and bounced with each beat, and in that moment, we were all a family. Even Ebert’s strange hair-do was a point of conversation among us strangers. The band members won over all of our hearts with their quirky dances moves and playful conversation.
Their separate voices were exquisite, but nothing could compare to the harmonious melodies they created when combined. It would have been impossible not to fall in love with them after tonight.
In addition to “Man on Fire,” Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros also sang “Child,” “Fiya Wata,” “If You Wanna” and “That’s What’s Up,” but the song that the audience connected with most was their top hit, “Home.” The band coyly introduced “Home,” by making it appear as if they were going to sing a different song. But as soon as it was clear that they were going to sing “Home,” the excitement was tangible in the air. During the song, where Ebert and Castrinos talk in the recorded version of the song, tonight they asked the audience to share any exciting stories with them. Castrinos offered up that earlier today she had bought the dress she was wearing from Maude Vintage, a local clothing store downtown, one fan yelled to the crowd that she had gotten sent to jail today and another proclaimed his love for his best friend.
By the end of the hour and a half performance I had forgotten that my legs were sore. I had forgotten that my arms throbbed from clapping. And I still wasn’t ready for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros to leave.
This concert was filled with cigarette smoke, stumbling drunken people, elbowing in the face and groping by creepy men. And I loved every second of it.
By Trisha Chaudhary
For more coverage on the Roots N’ Blues festival, click here.
For a schedule of who will be performing what, click here.
Photos by Asa Lory[nggallery id=128]