Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros at The Olympia Theatre – Review
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros at The Olympia Theatre – February 8th
It nearly didn’t happen at all. The antiquated electrics of The Olympia played up and cut out an hour before the onstage arrival of Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros. A quaint and quirky crowd spanning four generations and every shade of grey gave rapturous reaction to Mr. Sharpe and his ten disciples. I say disciples as what was about to unfold was a cross between a musical messiah and a hand holding, waltzing, psychedelic, preaching, reaching, unprecedented performance.
To put it into context, Edward Sharpe is the pseudo persona of Californian Alex Ebert. Ebert found himself in rehab years ago and invented Edward Sharpe as a ”Messiah sent down to Earth to kinda heal and save mankind, but he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love.”
Sharpe and his troop of ten are advocates of joy, purveyors of magic, savers of souls. This they achieve onstage with a performance that evokes atmospheres of hippy communes, Woodstock and peaceful protests. Ebert appears in peasants clothing, a striking lanky length topped with a mass of matted long brown hair perched cautiously on his head. Opening with “In The Summer” from their 2013 self titled album. Their first live performance of this track provides stark contrast to the weather beaten crowd who found themselves lilting and swaying to this laid back sunny track, complete with stretched out brass and backing vocals reminiscent of The Byrds.
Our dishevelled front man swigging white wine asked his adoring worshippers for any requests for their second track. Following a shout for “Mother“, he leads his band into this reflective lyric on an Ode to Mothers worldwide.
A sped up, uplifting rendition of “Man on Fire“ invites us all to “come dance with me“. Quick hits of fiddle, double bass and oversized brass stretches into a barn dance worthy of any Mumford’s fans. “I Don’t Wanna Pray“ next in a gospel, bluegrass, twangy banjoed up package. The velvet vocals of Jade Castrinos bringing us all eagerly to the altar of Alex. The travelling preacher man offers up the mic to his fans who willingly take it, singing back the verses. The conductor of this crazy orchestra then asks his fans for their stories of the music. A poignant moment strikes when a young man reveals that three years ago he had a kidney transplant. “My fiancée, my family and Your music got me through it“ he emphasises, “Better Days”. This connection to the soul is what the music and the magic is all about. Everybody is touched, Sharpe elated breaks into the track. Hardly a dry eye in the house.
Balancing on the barrier, the troubadour tells rather a tragic tale of when he was five and his father told him that someday they both would die. A child translating the finality of death spent the next twenty years maximising life that lead to the writing of “Coming Up From Below“. Ironically, it’s well paced, double bass draped with brass hooked foot tapping number. He’s got the knack of packaging dark lyrics in catchy wrappers.“I’ve already suffered I want you to know that I’m riding on Hells’ hot flames coming up from below.“ Begging forgiveness and acknowledging his misdemeanours he belts it out from the bottom of his wine soaked soul. It’s alright Alex. We forgive you.
Finishing with the adorable, melodic, whistling, country twanged extended tale of “Home”, its very Cash & Carter in places, bit Mama’s and Papa’s, generally charming. For those of you who don’t know it’s the music from the current Peugeot advert. Edward Sharpe, here’s to you and your Magnificent Heros.
Review by Ciara Sheahan