If you have ever been to a show full of hipsters in Seattle, you know that dancing is very unlikely. But on December 5th, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros came to town and Seattle got down!
This L.A. band debuted last year with Up From Below, one of the happiest, sunshiney-lovey-dovey albums of 2009. The music is infectious; it’s a disease you want to catch. The songs get stuck in your head and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside for weeks to come. After being sucked into the Edward Sharpe craze, I was determined to join a hippie band, travel the country in a beat up van, and do a bunch of drugs in the California desert all the while making love to everyone…ridiculous I know, but that’s what this band makes you want to do. Anyway, the band brings all those feel good feelings from the album with them to the stage.
With ten members, the band almost seems cult-y, and lead singer, Alex Ebert (yes, that’s right, his name is not Edward Sharpe) is like their leader: hypnotizing, mesmerizing the crowd withhis catchy lyrics and shirtless sweaty dance moves. And watching the interactions between Ebert and singer Jade Castrinos just makes you want to be in love. They gaze into each others’ eyes, sing lyrics about one another, and then touch and swoon. It’s all very wholesome in the best possible way. In addition to being nice to look at, Jade Castrinos has got some pipes! They covered “River Won’t Flow” and she really shone. Her sultry, deep voice drove the crowd wild with joyous dancing.
Ebert and Castrinos are accompanied by a band of musical maniacs (Nico Agletti, Christian Letts, Stewart Cole, Tay Strathairn, Aaron Older, Josh Collazo, Orpheo McCord, and Nora Kirkpatrick). The instruments and musicians seem varied in looks, styles, and ages but all fit together like a puzzle of the Nico Agletti, Christian Letts, Stewart Cole, Tay Strathairn, Aaron Older, Josh Collazo, Orpheo McCord, and Nora Kirkpatrick. Accordions, electric guitars, trumpets, A REAL PIANO (!), and a fine collection of percussive tools. When they play it’s like listening to the best summer day. And the band loves playing. You can tell they are enjoying it just as much as the crowd. They’re singing every word, dancing around, playing to the crowd. The look in their eyes says, “Dance! Smile! Laugh! Sing! If not for you, for me!” The crowd needs no persuasion. The audience loves it. The audience learns how to shake their ass. Like I said, it’s infectious.
Needless to say, this band is a must-hear and must-see. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will convert you to celebration. Enjoy.
Visit Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ website to see the next stop on the tour!
Randomville’s Interview with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Interview with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: Nico Agletti, Stewart Cole, Aaron Older, Nora Kirkpatrick, and Josh Collazo
Randomville: The album has been such a big hit. Did you think this kind of success was going to happen so fast? Is fame and fortune what you guys were looking for? Or would you have preferred to keep it low-key, traveling the world as musical rogues?
Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zeros: We felt like the music was really special, and just knew we had to keep doing it. We didn’t think it was going to turn into a traveling rock show. But it became a real band with a real sound that not only we enjoyed but lots of people. It took a lot of people to make this album and lot of them didn’t end up sticking around to be in the band, but we wouldn’t be here without them, and everyone that’s here now loves what we’re doing and where we’re going.
RV: As a ten-plus-piece band the writing process must be crazy. What’s that like for you all?
EsaMZ: Some things were written as a big group, but most of the stuff on the album Alex cooked up on his own. Aaron and Nico did lots with the arrangements, since they were doing the recording. Once the structure was laid down, we had lots of different people come in, record something live on our late-70s recording equipment. People just made up their own stuff and whatever worked really well stayed. We did a lot of erasing and retracing. It’s a group-oriented recording project that went live. The band’s first show was at Hotel Cafe, had a different lineup, and after recording and [doing] some little shows in weird places involving lots of sweat, we had our first show with this lineup at the Troubadour.
RV: “Janglin” is about taking the music to the road, to the people, creating community. Tell me more about the community you’re creating: what would it be like in the perfect world?
ESaMZ: What we’re kind of trying to do is make it so that everyone can share in the music. The show is nothing without the audience. We all enjoy the music together. They are just as much apart of it as we are. We are codependent on each other.
RV: So your performances almost seem spiritual, what are your converting people to? What’s my new religion?
ESaMZ: We’re not converting anyone to anything. It is all about celebration. We’re just having a good time, sending a positive vibe. We have a different feeling than a basic homogenized band, breaking down stereotypes of what a band should be, by being out there and having fun…We’re not buttoning up. It’s the oneness that sets us apart. Doing this all together. Not picking the music apart. Music is our vehicle and you don’t need a license to drive.
RV: What does it take to be in this band? How did it all come to be?
ESaMZ: Boot camp! No, really, it’s all about proximity. Everyone Alex knew came into the band. Alex is the snowball. People just showed up. We bought this old piano off of Craig’s List [which the band still has and lugs around on tour with them – Ed.] and a friend of our’s, Ali, went with us to carry the piano. He was a pretty big guy so we thought we could use his help. We get to the piano and he starts messing around on it, and it sounds pretty good. So we ask him to come over and record something, and “40 Year Day Dream” was made. Alex is really good at enrolling people. You know, whatever you come up with works and there’s really no overbearing leadership. We all just have some common ground, similar aesthetic, even though we come from different backgrounds. Really, it’s our lack of ambition and willingness to just let things happen.
RV: What’s next for the band? Will it be another year-and-a-half before we get another album?
ESaMZ: We don’t have any plans as of yet. We’re going to take a little time off and then hopefully do something kind of free form. Free of worldly ties. Anywhere you can get a red light ticket in the mail. Somewhere like Northern Europe, Holland, or New Orleans, you know. It’s going to sound like a Space Odyssey, exploring space! Ha! No, but really we’ll record more like a band, stick to what’s working, played how we’ve always played. Infinite layers of fun! “An interlocking rocking feeling.” [copyright JJ] More to come!