In going through my e-mail yesterday morning I found a very welcome surprise. The group “Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros” was going to be in town for a show tonight. They would be appearing at Club Garibaldi, a small venue, for the nominal cost of $10 per ticket. This seemed like a chance that might never come again. My plan to see the show came together better-than-expected. Unfortunately, the show itself turned out to be quite a disappointment.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros is a Los Angeles-based band led by Alex Ebert. the group plays a mix of folk, world music and acoustic music, delivered with an enthusiasm reminiscent of a tent show revival.
I’ve been following Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros through various Internet radio stations across the country. I’ve heard them live in concert a number of times over the Internet. I had put them on my (very short) list of groups to see regardless of the ticket price. This opportunity appeared to be too good to be true and in unexpected ways it was.
Jeremiah Nelson (of Madison, Wisconsin) opened the night with a set of original songs. Nelson was accompanied by a violin player and they put on a good set. A number of times Nelson noted they would do a couple more songs and then Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros would be out. After the second time nelson said this I began to wonder if they weren’t getting the stretch signal from off-stage.
When Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros finally did come out it was clear this was not going to be their best performance. It became all too obvious Alex Ebert, the group’s leader was performing while impaired. My wife told me later all of the band members and the sound person were drinking quite heavily throughout the performance.
By the end of the night my initial concern this opportunity to see Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros might be a one-time thing was confirmed. I had assumed the group was on a path which might leave “small markets” such as Milwaukee behind. I never imagined the group might implode in a fog of substance abuse.
Some links to the music: