Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at PGH Arts Fest Friday, June 7
Pittsburgh was treated to some West Coast music flavor the past few days as multiple Los Angeles-based bands made their way through the ‘Burgh. Starting with last Friday night’s 2013 Arts Fest Music featured act Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
The ten-member troupe made their way onto the Dollar Bank Stage at the Point to a roaring crowd. While past Arts Fest shows have been relaxed and inviting for audience members to sit and relax on the lawn, leading up to the Edward Sharpe show the area quickly filled and became a standing-room-only affair.
But that didn’t stop the fun, positive atmosphere as lead singer Alex Ebert belted through the opening song “40 Day Dream.” Before long the whole crowd was clapping and singing along as Ebert and fellow singer Jade Castrinos encouraged everyone to dance and scream (“if they wanted to”) through the stomp-tastic “If You Wanna.” The warm evening and open venue complemented the band’s sound, as every song was clear, audible, and well-performed.
At one point Ebert leapt into the crowd, disappearing in the sea of people while his voice still echoed on stage. The band kept the crowd involved the entire show, even pulling one lucky audience member on stage to sing a song and participate in a stage dive. The set-list seemed spontaneous, as Ebert would ask the crowd for suggestions or look to the rest of the band for next song ideas. The enthusiastic crowd was also treated to a sneak peek at the band’s upcoming third, self-titled album with the song “Better Days,” the video for which was published yesterday. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros closed out the show with the hit single “Home” as well as “Om Nashi Me” in front of light patterns that resembled stars in the night sky. Audience members were given the opportunity to tell their own stories in the interlude of “Home,” as Ebert and Castrino passed their microphones around.
After finishing up, Ebert reluctantly told the crowd that there “will be no coming back out,” due to a time limit (which it seemed they had already exceeded anyways).
“Talk to your City,” Ebert proclaimed, “Pay more taxes!”
No thank you, Mr. Ebert, I’d much rather pay nothing to enjoy a fantastic evening of music.
Full set list:
40 Day Dream
- That’s What’s Up
- Man on Fire
- Fiya Wata
- I Don’t Wanna Pray (with multiple verses added)
- Up From Below
- If You Wanna
- Better Days (New Song)
- Om Nashi Me
— Edward Sharpe (@EdwardSharpe) June 8, 2013
Local Natives at Stage AE Monday, June 10
Fellow L.A. natives Ex Cops opened for Local Natives, and actually held their own. Like most openers, the band got the crowd into them through the assurance that the main act was coming up after them, asking the crowd if they were excited. The evening started like an awkward middle school dance as the crowd was not entirely sure what to make of this five-piece rock band. But as the evening went on, heads indeed were bobbing while knees jumped up and down to the swinging, catchy grooves of this unique band who did a proper job of priming the crowd without upstaging the main act.
The Local Natives, also from Los Angeles, rocked to an ecstatic crowd at Stage AE on the North Shore. The four-person group is just beginning their Summer/Fall tour and Pittsburgh is just the seventh stop. With the buzz from their sold-out Spring tour (and Coachella performance) for their sophomore album Hummingbird hanging in the air, the Local Natives really delivered to the enthusiastic Stage AE crowd.
The Local Natives have been getting attention since 2010’s Gorilla Manor (ironically at one time they were the opening act for Edward Sharpe), and for good reason. The combination of strong vocals and vocal harmonization as well as diversity in sounds (from slower, passionate songs, to fast-paced stompers) give the Local Natives a really unique sound, one that has been dubbed “a prominent, assured voice of contemporary Los Angeles rock…a transformational arrival” by the Los Angeles Times as well as “indie rock’s next great hope” by Entertainment Weekly.
The group wasted little time between songs, powering through the set list as each song brought even louder cheers from the jumpy, dancing crowd. Stage AE suited the Local Natives well as it was large enough to let out their big sound, but small enough to allow some intimacy with the crowd. The band made things fun, swapping instruments and vocal duties and at times even playing multiple instruments at once. Lead singer Kelcey Ayer (who played keyboards, a drum, and picked up a guitar at times) expressed appreciation for the passionate crowd, admitting the last time they were in Pittsburgh was roughly 5 years ago to a crowd of about twenty or so people at an art gallery. Needless to say they’ve come a long way in a short amount of time and the enthusiastic support from the crowd could have suggested that the band members were “local natives” (ouch, too much?) of the Pittsburgh area.
The Local Natives finished up their main set as the cheers of the crowd rang out in harmony with the final guitar strum while the packed audience cried for more. They came out for an encore, appreciative of the strong support.
Tentative set list for Local Natives (it’s one they’ve used recently, but I’m not sure if it exactly matches Monday night’s show-feel free to comment with any corrections).
- Black Spot
- Wide Eyes
- You & Me
- Heavy Feet
- World News
- Warning Sign
- Who Knows, Who Cares
- Three Months
- Sun Hands
Between Friday night’s Arts Fest-ivities (see what I did there?) and Monday night’s show, it was the largest collection of square-framed glasses, mustaches, rolled pant legs, and tossle hats in June I’d seen in one place (my own Ray-Bans and unkept facial hair included). And to be honest, all jokes aside, it was welcomed– a friendly, positive, fun-loving crowd which can only bring other great acts through Pittsburgh.