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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros w/ Dawes @ Pabst Theater

June 7, 2010

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With a vast, adventurous blend of rock ’n’ roll energy and revival-show theatrics, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros roared into The Pabst Theater with a purpose for a wildly entertaining performance Monday night. The band's size suggests the enormous scope of their sound—10 musicians, including band founders Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos—yet even with so many players, the group never seemed constrained on the theater's stage. Instead, the band joyfully rollicked to triumphant trumpets and rousing guitars.

Dressed in white with a red scarf and grizzled facial hair, Ebert bellowed soulfully as he led the band, jumping around the stage and intimately conversing with the crowd, like they were family.

Castrinos also added to the night’s warm atmosphere. During the band's song devoted to her (“Jade”), she was at first nowhere to be found, but she soon rushed the stage, wrapping arms with Ebert, dancing and twirling around. Her sweet voice was the perfect counterpoint to Ebert's on “Home,” the one song to feature her entirely on vocals.

There was a sense that the band had grown genuinely fond of the crowd over the course of the night—they even sang “Happy Birthday” to two audience members.

The encore was particularly heartfelt. Toward the end, Ebert crouched down and invited the audience standing in front of the stage to climb up and sit down. With a guitar in hand, Ebert sang an emotionally powerful version of “Brother,” as the band sat among the crowd. Afterward, the group launched into a tropical dance beat, and the crowd on stage stood up and danced away.

While it'd be hard to match the energy created by Edward Sharpe, openers Dawes were able to hold their own with a great set of soulful folk-rock. The band's set featured songs from their debut, released last year, including “Love Is All I Am” and “When My Time Comes.”

Photo by CJ Foeckler