Earlier this month my girls and I made tracks to see the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros show at the Roseland Ballroom after a stellar sushi dinner for some random middle of the week music/birthday festivities! It was going to be a good night…
The Roseland has had many different locations over the last decade. Throughout its many stops along the way, it has been the house to many-a-different avenues of music ranging from Big Bands to Disco. Nowadays it rests on West 52nd Street at the edge of Manhattan’s Theater District. In recent days, the theater boasts select artists such as moe., Jack White and of course, this evening, the amazing and on the rise Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Knowing a bit of history on the venue, I felt it a very fitting setting for this eclectic 10+ piece modern day gypsy-folk (if you will) ensemble.
As I entered “the pit” I noticed a myriad of instruments resting in the dark under what looked like an very large super moon. The crowd, myself included, was very much anticipating the kick off of the band’s two evening run in the city. Great music coming in over the house sound: “Seeker” by The Who, “Got to Get You into My Life” by The Beatles and “Can’t You Hear me Knocking” by The Rolling Stones. I hear a small group starting a chant….”Edward! Edward! Edward!”
The room gets a bit darker and I started to see the shadows of the artists move across the stage. As the 13 members (I counted) of the band took their place the lights slowly turned up. From my position, I looked up to Alexander (Ebert) standing directly in front of me with one hand around the mic, the other in his pocket, swaying back and forth while whistling into the mic.
After a slow interlude, they belted into “40 Day Dream” off their first album Up From Above. In normal Alex fashion, he pleasese the crowd with his nearness to them as he danced in and out and up and down from stage to floor to amps to floor. He was donning his signature white loose fitting shirt that was falling off of his right shoulder and was rocking a sensational beard.
So many band-members, forgive me in advance if I didn’t get it all. The lovely Nora (Kirkpatrick) on accordion was standing just behind the cute-as-a-button Jade (Castrinos). To my left was Christian (Letts) on guitar strumming away underneath his oversized cowboy hat. Mark (Noseworthy) was also playing a guitar. Stuart (Cole) was sitting to all the way to the left in front of a keyboard. He is also friendly with his trumpet and ukulele. As well he dabbles in percussion; a true jack of musical trades. Throughout the show, he not only tapped the keys, but walked about stage snapping some pics with a beautiful looking film camera with a big round flash. So much for no flash photography, huh?! Well, I suppose we will let it slide.
From what I recall about my time spent in a band in grade school, it was hard to get all of the pieces in place and in line with one another. This grouping of artists was expressing such amazing confidence and emitting great energy to their fans, even if they had slipped up, it would likely have gone unnoticed. A feeling that drives a good majority of their music: positivity. Their handmade merch certainly melted my heart. For sale were hand-painted tambourines and hand-cut numbered jigsaw puzzles. The poster for the evening was hard to pass over, but in the end I walked away with their first album on vinyl–all in an effort to grow my immature record collection.
I want to circle back to what the history of Roseland for a moment. En route back to the show from merch, I spied one of the most amazing walls of honor. Across the top it read: ROSELAND DANCE CITY, IN HONOR OF THE MARRIED COUPLES WHO FIRST MET HERE. There were the names of hundreds of Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so with the year that they were married. Wonder how many new couples were in the house?!
Part of the show is simply just watching what Alex is going to do or listening to what he is going to say next. “Shhh,” he says. “If you wanna dance, come on and dance! All the cool people are dancing!” With the mic in one hand and his right food in the other, he jumps over his right leg with his left in break-dance fashion. Nailed it. “If you wanna dance, go ahead and scream!”
Jane is just so damn cute. Her voice is powerful and graceful all at the same time. She sang and danced, swaying back and forth just behind Alex with a silly ole grin on her face the entire evening. The band played a number of new songs off of their long-awaited second release “Here,” due out in out any minute now. I was pleased that over their two evening run, they chose this evening to perform the ever-popular, “Home.”
We laugh until we think we’ll die,
barefoot on a summer night
Nothin’ new is sweeter than with you.
Overall the show was great; I often find myself catching some of the best acts around these days! I would certainly recommend looking out for their caravan to roll into your neck of the woods this summer–if you knew was was good for ya!