Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros at Somerset House Summer Series
When you leap off the stage and climb into the crowd halfway through the first song of your set, you know it’s going to be a wild night. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros start as they mean to go on with an action-packed performance that touches the hearts and souls of everyone in attendance.
The audience tonight are alarmingly loud and receptive, the atmosphere from start to finish is electric and the band thrives on this energy. With people raising arms to the uplifting chorus of 40 Day Dream or shimmying to the rootsy I Don’t Wanna Pray, there is a freedom tonight rarely seen at London concerts. This isn’t a normal gig though, it’s a psychedelic-folk party.
There doesn’t seem to be a structure to proceedings with frontman, Alex Ebert, asking fellow band mates which songs they feel like playing, and taking audience requests. Ebert’s voice is hypnotic, bluesy and raw. He is a captivating performer, diving in and out of the crowd and even passing the microphone around so that people can share their stories. Like the Messiah in a billowing white shirt and brown trousers, he looks charmingly dishevelled as he loses himself in the music.
Ebert’s voice is wonderfully complimented by Jade Castrinos’ beautiful soul vocal. She has a sweet Americana twang but then belts with passion like a smooth-tongued Janis Joplin. The hypnotic gospel-tinged Fiya Wata sees her command the crowd with a powerful presence. The rest of the collective of ten performers provide perfect sing-along harmonies throughout and display an impressive musicianship.
There is nothing about tonight that is forced, showy or over the top. It is a simple joy to watch such an uninhibited performance. They squeeze every minute out of their set, playing right up until the 11pm curfew. Alex Ebert loops the bridge of their penultimate song because he doesn’t want it to be over, and neither do we.
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros close the night with Home, a sweet tale of belonging, complete with whistles and a chorus so irresistible that it can’t fail to get even the hardest of hearts to sing along. The crowd sing back to the band as if their lives depended on it and faces hurt from the constant smiling. Tonight’s gig is majestic, shambolic, magnetic and real and completely exemplifies what live music is all about.
Photos: Luna Ingrassia
For further information and future events visit Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ website here.
Watch the video for Home here: