A few years ago, towards the very beginning of House of Femme history, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s graced the KC Crossroads stage on a chilly October night, and people went wild, making this eclectic band one of the top selling tickets for the 2012 concert season. Flash forward three years, and you find me, sitting in the wood chips awaiting my first performance from a band I have listened to on and off for years, accompanied by my boyfriend, an Edward Sharpe fanatic. The July concert was a reprieve from the muggy weather KC has been experiencing this summer, and the weather was perfect, a blessing after the concert had to be rescheduled earlier in the month for inclement weather.
Preceding the group was the up-and-coming band “The Bright Light Social Hour” who hailed from Austin, Texas, a mecca of all things weird. Their feel fit in perfectly with the folky-indie sounds one would expect to hear at an Edward Sharpe concert, and everyone was thoroughly enjoying the music.
There was about a 30 minute break in between sets, with each group having a full band, there was plenty to do. The crowd continued to migrate closer and closer to the stage as the anticipation for the headliners grew. Then, when the crowd was just about to get impatient, lead singer Alex Ebert emerged onto the stage accompanied by the rest of the band. The crowd went wild as he began to hum and get the group situated on stage. Ebert had one of the most incredible stage presences I have ever experienced at any concert, and his ability to make the event feel intimate and personal is uncanny
Maybe five minutes into their set, something happened that I’m sure many people will not soon forget. Ebert disappeared from view, although we could still hear him singing “Man on Fire” quite clearly. We turned around and there he was, standing in the crowd singing to a group of people to our left, and dancing with them while playing the tambourine. I pushed my boyfriend forward to be apart of the circle, and before I knew it the two of them were dancing through the crowd together, arms swung over each others shoulders like old friends.
Ebert continued to move through the crowd, singing and dancing and having an incredible time with everyone involved, until the song was over and he returned to the stage. It was hard to top this moment through the hour and a half which the set continued, but the band managed, playing all the favorites, from “40 Day Dream” to “Home” in which the whole crowd was instructed to sing, and it became a group performance.
The most amazing part of seeing this group live is how personal and intimate the experience was. Alex and the rest of the band continue a dialogue through the whole set, holding conversations, asking opinions, handing out microphones for freestyles and stories, and speaking about the music. It is a group with dynamics that feel more like a family than a traditional band, and filled with talented singers and musicians, who all got an opportunity to show their stuff at some point throughout the set. I have a feeling that you could see them a hundred times and never experience the same set twice. I look forward to seeing them again someday!
Photo Creds: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Facebook, Crossroads KC (Chelsea Hope)