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An Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros is not your average, polished and rehearsed show – part of the fun is guessing what comes next. As it turns out, Alex Ebert (aka. Edward Sharpe) and the gang also enjoy guessing what comes next, as the show at the Enmore Theatre ran without any given set list or rehearsal.
Beginning with a heartening version of Man on Fire, for the rest of the show, Ebert took requests from the crowd, changed arrangements on the spot and leaped into the crowd numerous times stopping to kiss punters’ heads as he swung by.
It could have been a disaster, but the spontaneity of the night made it thrilling. The very essence of this feeling was felt most when the band launched into an unrehearsed version of Give Me a Sign. Moments before, Sharpe had told the crowd that he wasn’t sure the band knew how to play the song. Beginning with just piano and vocals, band members joined on as they caught the flow of the song, eventually bringing it home in spectacular style.
And the spontaneous moments just kept coming. After delivering a spirited first verse of I Don’t Wanna Pray, the microphone was handed to an audience member to sing whatever she liked. As if straight out of a movie, the punter opened up with an impressive voice sending the crowd into raptures.
Despite the unpredictability, there was one thing you could count o n- the voices of Ebert and his female counter-part Jade Castrinos. Ebert has a bellowing, powerful voice in the live arena while Castrinos sounds like a modern Patsy Cline. Together the two delivered a quaint love story told through songs like That’s What Up. However corny it may get at times, the pair are so convincing it was often hard to wipe the smile off your face.
As well as being Castrinos’ courter, Ebert acted as the preacher for the night. There was an undeniable, cult-like feeling to the show. Even the harshest cynic would’ve given into the good-vibes for just a moment.
Everybody from old to young was wrapped up in the infectious joy that was spread by the band. Whether it be perceived as contrived or over-played, the band’s natural satisfaction from playing music was hard to fault. As they delivered their trade-mark song, Home, it was clear that they had charmed the pants of the Enmore Theatre as the crowd harmonised in glistening whistles.
Photos by Jack Cowling