Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros Woo The Greek


It’s hard to believe that a mere two-and-a-half years ago I was watching Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros play at Portland’s small Holocene club. I had been following Alex Ebert’s other band, Ima Robot, for years, so when I caught wind that he was starting a new band, I had to check it out. I’m still not quite sure how all twelve of the indie folk troupe’s members fit on the little stage, but they made it work, and they blew us all away. At that moment, I knew this was going to turn into something big.

And it did. In the (relatively) short time between then and now, the group has garnered a gargantuan fan base around the world, and its songs have been featured in numerous television shows, feature films and commercials. With all of this newfound success, it was no surprise to me that the band announced a show at the famous Los Angeles Greek Theatre.  Hailing from the city of Angels, both Ebert and his muse, Jade Castrinos, voiced their disbelief and gratitude to be performing at the historic venue throughout the set. But even though the twelve-piece was playing at an amphitheater, Ebert had the ability to make it as intimate as the Holocene show.

“I have to go in now,” his voice announced as the lights dimmed and his Magnetic Zeros took to the stage. Everyone looked around, but Ebert was nowhere to be seen. “Sorry, excuse me,” he said as a spot light exposed his whereabouts. He was in the audience, making his way towards the stage. His fans screamed and reached for him as he trekked through the crowd. When he took his spot and began to sing, The Greek’s volume went up a few decibels.


The band played all of the hits off its critically acclaimed 2009 debut, Up From Below, and also gave its fans a taste of the new record, Here, which is slated for a May 29th release. Even with twelve musicians on stage, the group’s interaction was amazing. Each member played flawlessly and charismatically, feeding off the energy of the rest of the band. But nothing compared to the chemistry between Ebert and Castrinos. When the two sang together, their dynamism was magnetizing. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. And when they performed “Home,” it was like they were in a different world. Their eyes were locked on each other the whole time, forgetting there were thousands of people honed in on them.

What astonished me the most was the length of the set. The troupe played for two hours straight without taking an intermission for an encore. And by the end, the group was just as vigorous as it was from the beginning. Ebert danced and gyrated; frolicked on the stage, and even took requests from the audience for the last few songs. The set ended with “Om Nashi Me,” a beautiful, chanting track from the debut that Ebert informed the crowd meant “Yes My Destruction,” in Sanskrit. I wouldn’t be surprised if the group’s next LA stop was the Hollywood Bowl.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros is on tour through July. Check out dates here.

Photos: Randall Michelson