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Story and photos by Matt SchwenkeRather quietly selling out the Pabst Theatre, the reception L.A.-borne Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes received in the absolutely packed tour stop in Milwaukee was evidence of at least a local phenomenon for a band just one album deep, Up From Below (2009).
Led by Alex Ebert, who was also known as the lead singer of the power pop group Ima Robot, the charismatic performer played the part of the moniker he dreamt up, Edward Sharpe- a messianic figure who, as told in an interview, "was sent down to Earth to kinda heal and save mankind, but he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love." Dressed in clothes resembling some sort of baptismal revival leader, Ebert often distractedly wandered about the 10-member strong The Magnetic Zeros on stage in a merry pranksters sort of fashion and interacted with the crowd with a televengalist-like affinity but without the preaching.
While not nearly as complex as fellow, big group of touring musicians Arcade Fire, the band does create a wall of sound that resembles the Canadian indie rockers, most notably in the fervent march of "Kisses Over Babylon" and in their hit "Home," which adds a She & Him charisma as Ebert and singer Jade Castrinos also played that part in real life and have wonderfully complimenting voices. Purposely aiming for a vintage analog sound, the other most notable throwback sounds were found in "40 Day Dream" and "Janglin." Though many tunes lacked a sense of balanced dynamics across all the musicians on stage, Ebert's and Castrinos' voices are worthy of attention, and the odd group certainly does make for a fun and free-spirited, albeit at times too fanciful, show.
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