Last night, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros performed their new album, “Here” in its entirety (plus one song they’ve never recorded) as part of KCRW’s Berkeley Street Sessions. Frontman Alex Ebert said it was a nice way to present the album, before admitting to the live audience that they “became ready to play these songs about three minutes ago”.
There was a sit in, sing-a-long, lots of smiles, handclaps and best of all something music fans rarely get a chance to experience — when the barrier between the band and the audience just disappears and they become one, enjoying each other.
It’s obvious that the Zeros like it this way. Their music is all about positivity and community – I mean, they themselves are a collective of 11 musicians! Everyone sings.
In fact, our event producer mentioned that we’ve never had this many vocal mics on stage for one of these performances. Their harmonies are beautiful and frontman Ebert mentioned that singing together has been a focus for the band, even when they’re just hanging out. (I witnessed it myself as their voices burst out of the “green room” backstage before the show even started).
Alex, Jade Castrinos and guitarist Christian Letts each took a turn on lead for the first three songs (our current KCRW favorite “Man on Fire”, the bluesy “Fiyawata”, and a ballad, “Child”), followed by the gospel “I Don’t Wanna Pray” and, my personal favorite, “All Wash Out”.
With Alex and Jade earnestly singing the line “love is something I believe in”, it was hard not to get a little choked up. These two wrote, what I believe, is one of the most iconic love songs of my generation: “Home”.
When asked about it by host Liza Richardson, Alex said that as soon as they wrote it, they instantly felt like a giant hole in music had been filled – a non-ironic, non blasé song about friendship and love. And that’s what I love about this band. They couldn’t be any more sincere. Their love for each other and their music is real and palpable when you are in the room with them and they happily share it all with us.
After three years of touring behind their debut, the band settled into a studio in Ojai to record the follow-up with a few new members. They recorded it in about 6 months “all at once and all together”, with Alex saying “now we’re a band”
All of the new songs sound and feel familiar in the best kind of way. They’re so good, it seems like you’ve known them forever, although most I had never heard before.
The upbeat and playful “That’s What’s Up” and “Dear Believer” were also highlights for me. I should also mention that they had Chris Richards, the frontman of another local LA band, The Deadly Syndrome, singing back up vocals throughout the show.
This session will air on Morning Becomes Eclectic on May 29 and I’m excited for everyone to hear it. Full set list below, as well as photos from Jeremiah Garcia.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Live on KCRW Set List (recorded at Apogee’s Berkeley Street Studio)
Man on Fire
I Don’t Wanna Pray
All Wash Out
One Love to Another
That’s What’s Up
If You Wanna (previously unrecorded)