Show Review: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Wow, what a show. Before the show, a man in the crowd said to me “you’re going to feel things you’ve never felt in your life”, referring to the show I was about to watch. While I am not sure that I felt new emotions, I did have a brilliant time at the show. When I came into The Fillmore in Charlotte, NC, Fool’s Gold were already playing and the crowd was packed in tight. I got a decent spot in the crowd and watched the energetic band play a 40-minute set. I have Fool’s Gold’s second album on my iTunes but it is unfortunately not very listened to, but after seeing the band I think I will spend a little more time with it. They had amazing energy, out of this world harmonies, and two drummers. One of the drummer was playing both bongos and a drum pad. Their songs were an interesting combinations of genres with latin, african, and modern-pop sounds throughout the set. The highlight of their set was the song that they played that was completely in Spanish. It was also something special whenever the guitarist pulled out the saxophone. They got the crowd dancing and were a great opening band.

The wait between Fool’s Gold and the anticipated headliners was almost an hour. Obviously with 11 members, there is a lot to set up, but even after everything was completely set up they waited another half an hour until the show started. However, the crowd was energetic and fun so it did not seem like too much of a wait. Just as I was trying to convince a man named Sanchez to fight his way to the crowd, the Los Angeles-based band hit the stage and went straight into Up From Below highlight 40 Day Dream. The sound levels took a few minutes to be perfect but once they were, the show was a non-stop success. They played around 17 songs in a two hour set and what a show it was. Not many bands play for two hours these days, but Edward Sharpe had the crowd eating out of their hands for every single minute. They did not play an encore, they just played right until the end, and that was perfect. They did not need to play an encore.

Their set consisted of songs from their debut album, their upcoming album Here and a couple of songs from lead singer Alexander Ebert’s solo album. One of my favorite parts about their set was the song Truth, from his solo album, which had Ebert adopting a hip-hop-like sound reminiscent of Matisyahu. The band’s set flew through a number of different genres including folk, gospel, punk, reggae, and as I said before, hip-hop. What did stay the same was Ebert’s passion for his fans and his brilliant stage persona. He was an absolute character. He held hands with the audience and interacted with the crowd many times throughout the show, making everybody feel like they were someone special. During unreleased song If You Wanna, after singing “If you wanna dance/Go ahead and dance” he jumped right into the crowd and danced with those around him. It was obvious that he is legitimately happy with his fans and his life, and it made everyone in the venue feel so happy as well.

Another amazing thing about the show was the big sound that the band had. They had 11 members play the show and every single one of them added to the majestic sound that the band produced. All of the members were talented and energetic, especially singer and guitarist Jade Castrinos. She was smiling through the whole set, providing brilliant chemistry with Ebert, especially during Home. Though most of the songs were upbeat and happy, the band took some ominous, dark paths, especially during Desert Song with Ebert asking the crowd, “how old were you when you found out you were gonna die?” The crowd still ate it up, right until the very end when, after a fantastic rendition of Om Nashi Me featuring the members of Fool’s Gold, Ebert collapsed into the crowd and hugged everyone who wanted to hold him. There were a whole number of other highlights including Jade Castrino’s voice/dimples, the pounding drums in most of the songs and an 10 minute improvised whistle/trumpet/piano session. It was a fantastic, passionate show and I would highly recommend you see them if you get a chance. If only for the reason to see 11 people sing separate harmonies and bring tears to all the eyes in the room.

Thanks to BB Gun press for the opportunity.

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