This week I had the amazing opportunity to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (ESMZ) live. I had high expectations for this concert since the day I bought the tickets but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the marvellous show that the Magnetic Zeros gave me that night.
To start, the crowd was like nothing I had ever witnessed. The sheer diversity of the people in the hall alone was a sight in itself and the atmosphere was something from another world. There were people of all ages and walks of life, from kids I went to high school with, the girl that works in the LUSH at the mall and even the grade 8 teacher from my elementary school were all there waiting for the vision that was the concert to begin. During what seemed like a years worth of waiting, people talked with one another, others were singing together, everywhere you looked every single person around me was happy to be in the company of each other and soon the company of a band they all love.
After the aforementioned wait was finally over, the lights went dim, the volume went up and the fever dream began. Lead singer Alex Ebert danced onto the stage, clad in his trademark white linen jacket and messy top-knot ready to bring the house down, and that he did. Lights began to flash on the bands back drop and a psychedelic video show began to play in rhythm with the music and it was time to begin.
The massive group brought a show I could have only imagined was real if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. I thought I knew what I was getting into considering I had seen close to every live concert video they have ever been posted online and probably account for a third of the views on their NPR Tiny Desk Concert video by myself. But I was wrong, I knew nothing.
The tiny stage of the London Music Hall was jam-packed with people and instruments galore. There were two full drum sets, two pianos, and abundance of guitars, trombones, trumpets and what seemed like everything in-between. It was hard to concentrate for the first few minuets between the lights, the people and the total awe of the fact that this day had finally come, but as I started to come back down to Earth my eyes were glued on Alex and it was hard to drag them away. He danced and sang with amazing stamina and the rest of he band followed his lead in a sync that was both fluid and robotic at the same time.
The singing, playing and dancing wasn’t where it ended either. On more than one occasion Alex jumped into the crowd, dancing and handing the mic off to fans to sing and tell stories with him. At another point he reached into the crowed for a girl’s cellphone (who coincidently was named Emily as well, but sadly was not me) which was recording and he sang and spoke to create a video for her before handing it back to her. He dragged people on stage held hands with close to everyone in the first three rows and even had fans pick the set-list at different points in the show. Somewhere in the middle of the show as well the music just stopped, not for an intermission, but to grab joints from fans in the crowed to take a quick puff and pass, and the sold out show roared the a freight train.
With all of this interaction within the crowd you think that people would become aggressive as most people do in a mosh pit concert situation, but it didn’t. In all the concerts I have attended at the Music Hall this is the only one where no one pushed, no one shoved and everyone seemed generally happy to just be there with this band. It was all good vibes and through the concert it seemed they only got stronger.
As the set started to come to a close the band took a pause, gave each other small nods and then Alex proceeded to sit on one of the stage speakers as the lights dimmed. Everyone in the building seemed to know what was coming and as the band stood silent Alex slowly belted out “ALABAMA” and the crowed responded “ARKANSAS” Alex then responded to his patrons “I DO LOVE MY..” and again the crowd responded “I DO LOVE MY MA AND PA”, then the band started the tempo picked up and it was like a religious awakening has started.
As the bands most popular song ‘Home’ bled trough every wall and bounced off of every surface in the hall, it was like the Magnetic Zeros had truly brought me home. They reminded me why I love them and why I love music; especially live music as much as I do. I looked around the at what was no longer a crowd but a congregation, staring and stinging along with Alex who had become their preacher and I was truly home. As I’m sure everyone in that building was too. Sadly the concert ended one song later and for a few days afterwards I had what felt like a small hole in my soul because I had to go back to real life.
But in the words of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros themselves, “Holy-Moly-Me-Oh-My” what a show, what a night, it was worth the wait and a great big thank you for reminding me why this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Article by Emily D’Orazio