Gig Review: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at the Mod Club, Toronto

April 2, 2016
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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at the Mod Club, Toronto - photo Alyna Paddon, Music Vice

Who: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Where: The Mod Club, Toronto
When: 31 March 2016
In one word: Bondage

When Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros first released dates of this small tour, an air of mystery surrounded the announcement, as many fans had been wondering what the band has been up to since they parted ways with singer Jade Castrinos in June of 2014. This tour was the perfect answer to all of our questions. The intimate show at The Mod Club had a set list that consisted solely of songs from the band’s new album, PersonA, which comes out on April 15. Interestingly enough, instead of hiring an actual opening act, the band invited five local musicians to each sing two songs at an open-mic before the show.

While Alex Ebert (A.K.A. Edward Sharpe, his musical alter-ego) is often considered the frontman of the group, it is obvious that these intimate shows are meant to emphasize the band, A.K.A the “Magnetic Zeros”. Many of the T-Shirts and other pieces of merchandise at the show featured the band’s logo with the words “Edward Sharpe” crossed out with a huge red stripe. This seems to be the band’s way of slowly changing their image to be more equal and inclusive of all members, rather than what they were doing before: focusing mostly on Jade and Alex. The biggest emphasis on this transformation, however, was their adamant refusal to play their hit song “Home.” They were insistent on only playing new material. Even after 10 minutes of the audience screaming for an encore, they did not return to the stage. While this is understandable that they want to escape from their roots during this intimate tour, I couldn’t help but be upset; for many fans of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, “Home” has a certain nostalgia factor associated with their love for the band.

The most interesting part of the night had to be the unique bond the band formed with the audience early on in the show. Sharpe frequently interacted with the audience, even having a short but sweet conversation with an audience member, passing the mic back and forth to communicate. The audience member welcomed the band to Toronto, and, smiling, Sharpe nodded a thank-you and continued with the song.

Sometimes sitting through an hour of live music you have never heard before can be less exciting than hearing your favourite songs. However, this was not the case with Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros. The audience was clearly hanging onto every word Edward Sharpe sang. Somehow, the band still managed to make everyone feel like we were sitting around a campfire with our best friends.

True to their name, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros put on a magnetic performance that held the crowd’s attention from the minute the band walked onstage to the minute they left.

© Alyna Paddon, Music Vice

Photos of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at the Mod Club, Toronto:

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