Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Coachella 2010: The shirtless, the shoeless and The Hova take in Edward Sharpe

April 17, 2010 |  7:14 pm


The crowd was ready to get dirty for locals Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, led by electro-rocker-turned-pop-shaman Alex Ebert. Shirts came off, shoes were tossed aside, and a heavily packed outdoor stage turned into a Haight Ashbury-worthy hippie throwdown.

Navigating the scene wasn't an easy task. "It's like a war zone," remarked one festival goer, as those furtherest from the stage were splayed across the grass. The large Los Angeles outfit -- at least seven or eight people were on stage at any given moment -- easily outdrew peppy Canadian rock 'n' rollers Tokyo Police Club, whose hook-filled songs were blasted to a largely open mainstage audience.

Yet Edward Sharpe had perhaps the fest's most important attendees in his corner. Standing out amongst the fans were Jay-Z and Beyonce, accompanied by minimal security and happily allowing fans to shoot pictures. The famed pair took in about three songs out in field before it was suggested they make their way backstage.

With Jay-Z and Beyonce out of the way, fans again turned their attention to the stage, where the band swapped a host of instruments, giving shout-along choruses with Mamas & the Papas-worthy verses. A more recent reference point may be the Polyphonic Spree, but Edward Sharpe avoids the orchestral nuance of the latter for a more jangly, simple sound, playing with keyboards that looked like toys and what appeared to be the occasional ukulele. There might be more accurate details had the size of the crowd and number of those dancing -- and freely passing around illegal substances, for the record -- had allowed for a closer view.

But a prime seat wasn't needed to recognize this was schtick, yet it's upbeat, sing-along, let's-hold-each-other's-hands-and-run-around-in-a-circle schtick, and such ol' fashioned peace & love vibes are a rock 'n' roll festival staple. It was also probably the only set of the day in which someone can say into his phone, "Hey, meet us over by the guy in the unicorn outfit," and such a statement would seem entirely sensible.

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Edward Sharpe of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros performs at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, USA, 17 April 2010. The Coachella Music Festival is a three-day festival attended by 75,000 people. Credit: Stephen Mitchell / EPA