Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros – Music Fest NW Review

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros in Portland
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros in Portland

Infectious and contagious (in a good way), Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros sucks you in with music that builds and crescendos into an ecstatic space so compelling it’ll win over even the most hardened hipster. Playing a late night set at a very packed Holocene, this ten-piece band filled every corner of the club with music, dance and electricity.

A folk-rock infusion, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros could best be described as Arcade Fire if they were all hippies, or a band from the children of the members of the Grateful Dead. Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros are a fairly young band, and the show had a variety of technical issues, but their inexperience was never prevalent. When a mic went out, Alex Ebert (aka Edward Sharpe) led the audience in un-amplified song, proclaiming, “Let’s do one without all this technology”. The result was magical. The Holocene stage was so packed with musicians that they literally spilled out into the audience. Ebert, swigging from a bottle of wine, spent part of the final songs in the crowd, not just performing to them, but being a part of them. This connection between the band and the audience is what really makes Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros something special. They don’t simply get up and play, they connect and they do so with a tremendous amount of heart and passion.

The highlight of the evening was the performance of their single “Home”. Ebert and company lead the audience in a whistle prologue to the song that was hauntingly beautiful. The rest of the band joined in and the song began to build. Bit by bit it transformed from a song into a celebration, one which involved everyone in the room. Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros showed tremendous promise in their Music Fest NW set and I can’t wait to see them perform live again.

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros return to Portland on December 9th at the Doug Fir Lounge. I highly recommend checking them out as they won’t be playing small venues for long and the experience of seeing them in a more intimate venue is really exceptional.

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3 replies on “Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros – Music Fest NW Review”

I agree,
here were my thoughts:
I’m going to have to come out and say it… Last night I was super lucky… Not only did the timbers bring the Wu-Tang fury, but more importantly, Holocene hosted one of the sickest shows I’ve seen in a while!

While everyone else was kicking it at Girl Talk and dancing the night away on the West Side of town for MFNW, an epic happening was just beginning on the East Side at a venue that often hosts an unreliable and sometimes difficult to please crowd. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros brought an energy to Holocene that I believe is rarely found. The 10 piece group with a giant’s sized tambourine, two guitarists, bassist, drummer, organist, accordion, and percussive section, with group vocals, and a Wiley front man, that put the zam in zamboni stepped up to the occasion! Think the energy of a Gospel choir in New Orleans on a surreal Sunday morning juxtaposed against the contagious rhythms and crowd interaction of Arcade Fire or any other incredibly interactive and dynamic group spliced with a contemporary psychedelic infusion. Holocene was euphoric for an hour and half last night. The crowd was dancing and singing with more gusto than Wrigley’s got gum. In the midst of a killer version of “40 Day Dream,” a mic shot out… It really takes an electrical failure to put a band to the test. Well, I’ll tell ya what… the Magnetic Zeros and the crowd embraced the failure… and just like a Sunday gospel party in New Orleans, we communed with each other in the cubicle white room, singing and clapping the night away. Once the electrical problems were resolved… the crowd kept clapping and then –the Magnetic Zeros kicked back in with a wammm +10! If this energy wasn’t enough, we all thought to ourselves whilst sipping from the communal bottles of wine floating around from the stage— more was to come…after all this was truly a special and incredibly intimate evening. Jade (one of the two lead vocalists) threw her cards down, as if to say thank you and I love you, belting to the ecstatic crowd with a voice so powerful, she would have made Joan Baez cry! After all was said and done, Edward Sharpe and The (Truly) Magnetic Zeros had come to Portland and owned an evening in a way that I have only seen a few bands do… It really was the “Magical Mystery Kind!”
My advice to everyone is to go buy their CD and see them in concert!

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