Crazy commune folksters Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros don't do things by halves - and this goes for their carnivale-esque performances also. Last month they took over the tunnels underneath the Old Vic in London, putting on a show unlike any other. Going down into the Old Vic Tunnels is an experience in and of itself, but Ed Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were intent on ensuring everyone had a sensory experience that they would hold on to for a long time to come.
Before their actual performance though there was a lot of performance art type stuff going on, such as seemingly drunk and/or high Victorian prostitutes wandering about. There was some dance thing with a guy coming out of a coffin and people prancing about. There was also some performances going on in the bar. There was a woman playing her harp at one point I think, there was some acrobatic stuff going on... This was not what I was expecting. Truth be told, we were entering the Otherworld - a mini festival rather than just a gig.
When the time came for the headliners, everyone jostled into position. They opened with 'Janglin,' yet confusion was rife as there appeared to be an empty stage in front. But as the chorus rose there was a commotion at the back of the audience. Then the band appeared, walking through the crowd like Moses parting the Red Sea. There was no music at first, just them singing 'bah bahda bah' (listen to the song and you'll get it) and immediately everyone was singing along - and never stopped for the rest of the gig. The next one was '40 Day Dream'. Amazing. After that it gets a bit hazy - the senses over the course of the night had been overloaded. They did play a couple of new ones, but highlights included the tried and true - 'Up From Below', 'Come In Please', and 'Simplest Love'.
Of course, they finished with 'Home' and everyone in there was dancing around like a maniac. During this song, Alex (the lead singer) invited members of the audience to tell a story. One guy grabbed the mike and babbled some story about being on the phone to God one day. It might have been alright, except he had been overheard practicing it to his mate at the bar earlier! The next person just shouted happy birthday to the guitarist and the next person just shouted (even louder) "I love you Edward Sharpe!" Not exactly bewitching, but who cares?! The show was incredible just due to the fact that the whole band look like a bunch of mates having fun - who also happen to be really good. It was an overall joyous experience, just so much fun - and its the kind of thing that is missing in a lot of the live music arena these days. They aimed for a high concept, with lofty ambitions - and you know what? They nailed it.
Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros - Home