Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Better Than: A Ford Fiesta, NFL, and summertime True Blood promo featuring 30- to 60-second Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros teaser tracks.
A few months ago, an NPR Music intern named Alex Soto had the good fortune of meeting Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros before a DC show, and joined the band on stage that night to play violin, then again at the Newport Folk Festival shortly after.
Inspired by his story, we here at Crossfade started brushing up on our tambourine, sleigh bells, and triangle techniques -- the instruments we feel most comfortable on -- just in case Alex Ebert, Edward Sharpe's mesmerizing frontmant, called upon his indie folk-pop disciples to lend a musical hand. But there was no stage at Bardot, just a simple bar-floor setup that really allowed the group's positive, come-on-get-happy energy to permeate the entire crowd.
Describing Ebert as a musical messiah would be awfully cliché, but we'll do it anyway. His stage presence is incredibly intense, and his ability to gaze into the audience's eyes while passionately delivering a message of pure love is more effective than any preacher's sermon. He's not so much a performer, but rather a man profoundly influenced by conceptual philosophies of universal alignment and interconnectedness.
The band started its set at 11:45 p.m. with the intense "40 Day Dream." By the chorus, Ebert was leading the shoulder-to-shoulder, balls-to-ass crowd at Bardot in an imaginative sing-along from atop a piano. "Ah, it's the magical mystery kind /Ah, must be a lie /Bye bye, to the too-good-to-be-true kind of love/Oh, I could die."
Throughout the entire first song, Ebert jumped back and forth from the piano to a guitar case, "stage" left to "stage" right. After the song finished, he said, "This is our first time in Miami." A collective display of gratitude sprung from the crowd -- overflowing shouts of "thank you" and "welcome home" that Ebert graciously acknowledged. But there were also a lot of "We love, Jade" cries from the crowd as well.
When Ebert's eyes aren't fixated on the crowd, they're turned on Jade Castrinos, the band's female vocalist. Her stage persona is just as captivating as Ebert's, but in an entirely different way. When she sang, she seemed in her own world; she swayed back and forth to the music. And she rarely -- if ever -- looked toward the crowd during a song. However, she often shared intense gazes with Ebert, almost appearing as if he's the only comfort she has on stage, regardless of her incredible Joplin-esque vocal abilities.
After playing the title track from its 2009 debut album, "Up From Below," Ebert strolled past Castrinos, sat atop another piano and watched her as he sang the cover, "River Won't Flow." The crowd loudly voiced its approval and Castrino nervously smiled back. But a second wave of "Yeah!" and "Right on!" noticeably humbled the singer as she took in that moment.
Late in the show, Ebert acknowledged several requests for "Kisses Over Babylon." But he confessed, "We don't normally do that song. My Spanish isn't really that good. And honestly, I forgot the second verse."
"Play it," a woman yelled again from the crowd.
Ebert obliged. As the second verse approached, someone handed him a BlackBerry with lyrics on the screen. He chuckled, and used the phone for the remainder of the song. Epic.
The band ended the night with "Om Nahsi Me." And after the performance, Ebert, Castrinos, and crew interacted with fans and gave out their unopened Heineken bottles. One girl tied a leather bracelet to Ebert's wrist after the show, and another gave him a club flyer.
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Personal Bias: Singing "40 Day Dream" (terribly) with my favorite band of the past eight months has been crossed off the bucket list.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I hear this is a really good band that's playing tonight. Can I bum a cigarette?"
Partial Set List:
-"40 Day Dream"
-"Up From Below"
-"River Won't Flow" (cover)
-"Rivers of Babylon"
-"Come in Please"