At first glance, it might seem easy to put Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros in the hippie category. To start with, it's a sprawling, 10-person traveling band. They also play jubilant sing-a-long songs and sit in jam circles with the group's expanding fan base at just about any show.
But after spending a few hours with this troupe, it became obvious that Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros are free of irony. The group sincerely wants to uplift people with music, without gimmicks.
During this interview, before the band's recent 9:30 Club performance in D.C., they offered abstract philosophies about performing (terms like "universal energies" and "emotional barriers" were tossed around); but ultimately, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros are about good karma and staying positive through exhausting tours.
"Any ol' shmuck can be a rock star," says frontman Alex Ebert. But Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros don't play into that role.
For them, there is no divide between themselves and audience. Ebert literally sat down with the crowd on the club floor for their final song, "Brothers," in an unexpected kumbaya moment. The band also invited a fellow NPR Music intern, Alex Spoto, on stage to play violin after jamming in the alley earlier that day. (Keep watching the All Songs Considered blog for more on that story).
From what I gathered, they are a genuine welcoming group of friends who make music together. And they really appreciate the people who share the experience.
You can listen to my full interview with Alex Ebert and hear him discuss his amazement with newly found fame, the success of the band's hit song "Home," and it's impact on fans like me. Leave comments with your thoughts on the band.