W.I.L.D. Preview: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

| Cadenza Reporter

Courtesy of Big Hassle
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros play at 8 p.m. Friday night…geez, that doesn’t give you much time to learn about them. Pay attention, here’s what you need to know.

Edward Sharpe’s “real name” is Alex Ebert. You could say the band is a mixture of his two passions. The first is romance. He fell in love with Jade Castrinos outside of a Mexican restaurant a few years ago, and they began to make music together. Onstage, there’s an electric chemistry between Castrinos and Ebert.

Interestingly, his second passion involves messianic figures. The character Edward Sharpe was going to be the messiah in a novel that Ebert eventually abandoned, but the savior comes out on stage. Ebert, with his tangled hair and beard, looks the part. Even his onstage antics have been described as “possessed.” Maybe I should’ve said, “Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are descending from the heavens at 8 p.m. Friday night.”

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The band’s 10 members recently wrapped up their The Railroad Revival Tour, alongside Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show. According to the tour’s website, the bands, traveling exclusively by Amtrak, set out to recapture the “experience of the journey” between destinations. The website, by the way, is designed to look like a dusty, beaten-up signpost. The point is that for all of the spiritual enlightenment game that Edward Sharpe talks, the band is surprisingly down to earth.

A quick flick through their discography leads to the same conclusion. Their music is earnestly folk, and even the recorded tracks sound like they’re improvised jam sessions. The band teems with voices, whistling, basses and trumpets. In concert, their produced tracks take on another dimension. Ebert described Edward Sharpe’s live shows as a “dialogue” to The A.V. Club: “The music is the glove, and the live show is us putting the glove on and moving around.” On The Railroad Revival Tour, the band was famous for inviting audience members who brought instruments onto the stage. I’m not saying you should bring your banjo to the concert—OK, yes, that is what I’m saying. And your harmonica, too.

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