Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros hock '60s revivalism at Varsity
"Wait, this show is sold out?" asked the gentleman in front of me as we neared the front of the line to get into Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at the Varsity Sunday night. It turned out he didn't have a ticket. "I just heard one of his songs on the radio the other day and thought I might as well come see the show!"
As unfortunate as this incident was -- I have no idea whether the poor guy ever got in -- I found it enlightening. Sure, "Home" is a catchy enough little number, but I'd been mystified as to why this show sold out days in advance. Now it occurred to me that the people inside probably only knew one or two of the Magnetic Zeros' songs, had no point of reference on Laurel Canyon, and almost definitely didn't realize that there isn't, in fact, anyone named Ed Sharpe in the band.
And so it transpired.
Having missed the opening band (shame on me, I know), I arrived in time to catch the second opener, Fool's Gold. There were no fewer than eight people in this band, including three guitarists, too many percussionists, a saxophone, and even the occasional piccolo.
These guys jammed out real cool and even threw in some Spanish lyrics with their mamba grooves, but I was quickly struck by the fact that our polo-wearing concertgoers -- just a hop, skip, and not even a jump away from Fraternity Row -- didn't seem to know what to do with themselves. There were, of course, vague comments about how great the guitar playing was, but most people awkwardly stood still while others randomly whooped or hollered unintelligibly.