06/29 - Kansas City, KS - Kanrocksas
07/27 - Floyd, VA - Floydfest
08/01 - Las Vegas, NV - Cosmopolitan
08/04 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
08/17 - Sterling Heights, MI - Mo Pop Festival
08/23 - Simcoe, ON - Gentleman of the Road*
08/29 - Kennett Square, PA - Longwood
08/30 - Troy, OH - Troy Memorial*
09/01 - Aspen, CO - Snowmass
09/06 - Guthrie, OK - Cottonwood Flats *
09/07-09/08 - St. Louis, MO - Loufest
09/13 - St. Augustine, FL - Francis Field*
09/27 - 9/28 - Southern Ground Music Festival
Here is another super popular group: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. I previously covered them when they played here last year at the Cabooze. The band is returning to the Cabooze this June 25th. Expect the show to sell out.…
The ratio of available space per audience member was mirrored on stage, where I counted no less than 12 Magnetic Zeros, each busily doing his or her bit to magnetize a crowd that had already been drawn to the concert by the band’s irresistible siren song of all-inclusive musical enchantment. The variegated ensemble has been described with words like communal, hippyish, bacchanalian, mesmerizing, and well, you get the picture. And while some may describe Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros as the love child of Bon Iver and the Grateful Dead, and label their music as cultish, evangelical, flower-pop cultivated in Kumbaya country, such descriptions and comparisons are ultimately as lazy as the armchair critics who issue them, rather than joining the throng in front of the stage and experiencing firsthand what constitutes this band’s undeniable appeal. Which is where I was that night at Cabooze, where I watched teenage girls swooning, middle-agers toking, and seniors swaying to the jingly melodies, transcendent harmonies, instrumental salvos, and crowd singalongs that were just a few of the forms in which this band’s particular chi expressed itself. Other forms were whistling, clapping, rapping and preaching. You can label them a throwback to the psychedelic era or a preeminent specimen of the so-called neo-folk movement, but whatever they are, they attract an audience who accepts them as heartily as the band welcomes them, and who finds in this ragtag band of love-pushers an outlet for expressing their own chi and blissing out for a couple of hours under a tranquil (and much appreciated) Minneapolis sky. Late in the show, when lead vocalist Jade Castrinos invited audience members to embrace their neighbors, most happily complied. It was that kind of event.
The charismatic leader of the band, Alex Ebert, swayed, pranced and frolicked to the crowd’s delight, and minutes into the show had already made his way into their midst, where he took an audience member’s phone camera, evidently set to video, and held it up, slowly rotating it a full 360 degrees to record those on the stage as well as those facing it. Like many a band’s (or other organization’s) front person, Ebert has a charisma that is difficult to explain yet impossible to deny. Observed firsthand, he is not especially good looking, certainly not a spiffy dresser, and does not exactly appear jubilant when performing. In fact, he often wears a rather blasé expression, and perhaps this was just roadwear, but I have watched numerous recorded performances and he is always more or less the same. Assuming a blasé attitude while professing love and acceptance for all clearly works for him, and for the band.
The band’s nearly two hour set began with the popular Man on Fire, with the crowd favorite, Home, reserved for late in the show. In this song and others, the vocal duets performed by Ebert and Castrinos hold an undeniable popular appeal, as does Castrinos’ palpable love of music, which clearly runs in her blood and renders her incapable of ever holding perfectly still. Her joyful spirit and perpetual motion had no small influence on the audience, where very few unsmiling faces or immobile bodies could be observed. If this band’s admirers are spellbound by Ebert’s mysterious charisma, they are likewise smitten by the petite Castrinos: with her pixyish features, complete with mischievous grin and endearing dimples, she drew great applause and loud cheers each time she stepped into the foreground and festooned her clear-voiced melodies over the crowd.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Cabooze, Minneapolis (06/25/13)