IT TAKES discipline to be this loose. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros are an unabashed hippy collective of ten beaming souls, who gave the impression that they had just bowled into town and started a party on the first raised platform they could find.
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
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If this were the early 1980s, they would be dancing on cars in the street, like the Kids from Fame. But instead, the audience are sucked into a carefree Woodstock vortex of beards and smocks by an ensemble with the celebratory chops to pull off the Nina Simone-sanctioned Hair medley Ain’t Got No, I Got Life within minutes of landing. A couple of free – or possibly tipsy – spirits invited themselves on to the stage to frolic.
In addition to frontman Edward Sharpe, the charismatic cult leader-like alter ego of singer Alex Ebert, whose quavery voice sounded pretty ragged in parts, there were impressive lead vocals from Jade Castrinos, perpetually feeling the music as she twirled around the stage, and Christopher “Crash” Richard, who delivered a testifying soul song entirely in falsetto.
Mumford & Sons wish they were this freewheeling and organic, but these guys are closer in spirit to The Waterboys, a raggle-taggle Californian collective with additional psychedelic space cowboy leanings. Their schtick is something of a balancing act, often on the verge of ramshackle collapse, but it was undeniably refreshing to encounter a band who are completely their own masters in all their messy charm.
(Seen on 6.2.14)