“We just became ready to play these songs three minutes ago,” Edward Sharpe frontman Alex Ebert quipped as he led his expanded Magnetic Zeros, all 10 of them, onto a tiny Santa Monica stage. Playing for about 200 fans at Bob Clearmountain’s Berkeley Street Studio, Ebert and band took the opportunity to, as he put it, “present” their new album, Here, which is due out May 29th.
The set opened with the lead single “Man on Fire,” which started with a slow build and turned into an invigorating pop rocker. While the song also kicks off the new album, the band didn’t play the nine new tracks in order, creating a new sequence that showed off Ebert’s assertion, during a mid-set interview with KCRW DJ Liza Richardson, that the new album was more of a full-band project.
Jade Castrinos sang lead on the second track, the bluesy “Fiyawata,” while guitarist Christian Letts took the vocal reins on the sweet “Child.” There were several other highlights as well, from the uplifting, gospel-flavored “I Don’t Wanna Pray” (which Ebert called “probably the most dangerous song on the record”) to “That’s What’s Up,” a big, happy cornucopia of noise that ended with Ebert and Castrinos sharing a big smile and a high five.
But the standout of the night may have been the absolutely gorgeous “All Wash Out,” which found Ebert sitting in the middle of the floor surrounded by the seated audience. “This is really cool, everyone sitting on the floor,” he said. The communal vibe of the song climaxed with everyone snapping their fingers in unison to Ebert’s soft whistling and an a cappella sing-along.
In keeping with the joyousness of the performance, the group closed with what Ebert described as a “children’s song.” The performance will premiere on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” May 29th, the record’s release date.