Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
On the last night of their European tour Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros took to the stage in their normal casual manner. Sipping a bottle of rosé throughout, lead singer Alex Ebert was engaging and relaxed. Beautifully backed up by nine-piece band and co-lead singer Jade Castrinos, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were utterly captivating throughout their unrehearsed gig.
Strolling onstage there were no airs and graces nor were they showy. And why be when you have a charismatic frontman and an exceptionally talented band? This is their way of performing and with all the egos that tend to surround musicians these days this was incredibly refreshing. There appeared to be no setlist as Ebert asked “what do you want to hear?” on numerous occasions as he spun and bobbed around the stage like an embarrassing but loveable uncle at a family wedding.
The audience were a huge part of this gig. Ebert effortlessly involved the audience at every occasion, leaving their adoring fans feeling like they hadn’t just watched their favourite band live but had been a part of the experience. During Man on Fire an audience member was invited to play harmonica on stage and other fans were asked to share stories, one of which provided the most touching moment of the gig. Of course any fan worth his or her salt would’ve known that being at the front will get you places at an Edward Sharpe gig. As the band broke into I Don’t Wanna Pray, they knew what was coming – two audience members were picked out to sing a verse each. This again just added to the warmth and the overwhelming interaction. Crowd favourites 40 Day Dream and When You’re Young brought the house down. New tracks from their latest album Life is Hard and If I Were Free were well-received as they were performed in a lively yet majestically messy way that the revellers have come to love. Ebert’s stage presence was informal and untailored yet endearing. They are one of most un-rock star like bands to see live but their talent is up there with the best. There was no time for an encore as they sang right up to the curfew.
Despite all the fun of the night there was a poignant moment when a visibly upset Castrinos asked the audience to be silent for two minutes in memory of a recently lost loved one during which you could’ve heard a pin drop in Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Hit single Home provided the highlight of the evening as the crowd went wild and many of those lucky front-of-stage folk were once again invited onstage for the finale.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are an incredible band to see live. Their shows are purely about the music and their fans, and unlike so many can really make their audience feel special.
Photo: Drew de Fawkes
For further information and future events visit Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ website here.
Watch the video for Home here: