By Andrea Ramirez-Maciolek, Rock At Night Philadelphia
Venue: World Café Live, Philadelphia–April 2, 2016
Let’s see, where do I even begin when we talk about the awesomeness that is Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Getting the band members rounded up is a task in itself since there are so many. A couple of drums, bongos, a piano, a trumpet, a few guitars, a bass, an organ, an upright bass, marimbas, fiddle, a banjo, and violin if I’m even getting half of these right. All I can say is who cares because whatever it is, the music is amazing! The long list of instruments are either a roadie’s dream or a roadie’s nightmare. There is a lot of history behind Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, too much of it, along with a few band member changes throughout the years that we won’t even begin to deep our feet into. All that matters is the amazing shows they continue to perform for their fans and the timeless music that continues to amaze us. A sold out show last night proves there is no stopping Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros regardless of the plenitude of musicians and history.
We began the night with a unique take on an opening act which I have never seen before. They provided an open arena for anyone, yes anyone, to perform an open mic act. Regular audience members who had some form of musical talent came up to provide the entertainment as the opening act. We saw an array of interesting performances all which were amazingly fantastic and all were allowed to use the band’s personal instruments. This solidified what kind of night it was going to be- a laid back, personal night along with a family of strangers throwing back some wine and beer. I also experienced something I’ve never seen in a concert before, the “littlest fan” as lead singer Alex Ebert christened the baby when he saw a six month old being carried by his/her mom.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros tend to do things differently. This tour was in support of their new album PersonA and only those songs were supported in the tour which left a lot of people hanging at the end of the show hoping for perhaps an encore of the song that brought them to mainstream “Home”. But sorry, that was not the case. Everyone went home, “homeless”.
Alex is a master storyteller, he sat on the edge of the stage with lyric notes on hand sipping on wine and a pink concoction of some sort interacting with the crowd as if he were having a few drinks with friends and answering random questions from the crowd about anything. Interestingly, one of the questions was about his favorite soup which he responded with delight as he explained how butternut squash and potato leak soups from Trader Joe’s were his favorite because they come in environmentally friendly cartons.
Hanging on to his lyric notes as to not mess anything up, he started to talk about how every new band today has a “hey” or a “ho” in their songs, which to Alex’s credit, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are partly responsible for bringing back the lyrical stylings of folk music to the indie rock masses of today. With that said he broke out into a song about how everyone is stealing his “hey’s and “ho’s” called “Free Stuff”. Through the night he entertained the crowd by dancing and spinning around in the hippie free style of the 60’s. Alex sat at the edge of the stage again and began to talk about his three year old daughter and how he is afraid of her growing up because she is such an innocent good soul and he knows that she’s probably going to turn into an asshole like everyone else who grows up. Alex didn’t hold back emotions and he started to sing a ballad about his daughter called “Lullabye”.
Overall, it was a very free spirited night. It was an amazing show with new songs that carry the torch of the usual Edward Sharpe and the magnetic Zeros style. I think last night was the first show I ever attended where I left extremely relaxed and ready to party some more. I don’t know, maybe it was the herbal smell lingering in the air throughout the night but it was very good energy. Instead of being tired, I was very happy and didn’t even have a care in mind when I got lost in Philly for 10 minutes trying to find my way back home which I took advantage of enjoying some of Philadelphia’s most popular and scenic views. What can I say? Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ music is positive and transcending which I really enjoy and I’m glad I finally had the opportunity to catch them live for the first time after hearing their music for so long now.
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