Living in new places can be hard. Beyond experiencing the mild culture shock of new people and potentially agressive weather, one thing I’m coming to terms with is that all those mind-alteringly good shows are no longer a hour away (LA, I love you, but you’re getting me down.) So, while I cry through endless nights at not being able to ride the Chillwave© with all you sweaty socialites, as soon as hear Edward Sharpe and his Magnetic Zeros are playing a mear 4.5 hours away, I’m ready for the trip.
Cut past a brown bag lunch consumed and an overload on This American Life and The Moth, Northern New Mexico has welcomed me with slightly cooler weather and a whole lot less Juggalo windshield decals. I got in at about 5:30 with an hour and a half to kill so I took ample time to check out the venue. The Brewing Co has pretty nice set up. It’s slightly off the beaten path and equipped with a stage that the Swiss Family Robinson might have built had they decided to challenge the Partridge Family for most adorable family band. After grabbing an obligatory beer (the nut brown and pale ale are fine choices, trust) I ended up befriending a few people that made the same trip I did. They were hopped up and super excited for opening band Dawes and being completely oblivious to who they were, I felt it wise to heed their words and secure a front row spot for their set.
Dawes hit the stage at around 7:15 and pretty immediately I understood the fuss. The Californian four piece played some beautiful Americana with spot on three-part harmonies, rising and falling melodies, and lyrics that everyone can’t help but want to sing along with (the classics: love gained, love lost, finding purpose etc). But it was their closer that stole my heart: a jammed-out version of “Peace in the Valley” from their debut album. The nigh ten minute monster was accompanied by an approaching sunset and Stuart and Orpheo of the Magnetic Zeros, on percussion and trumpet respectively. The song swelled between spot on solos and billowing trumpet that just killed. It was straight majestic.
During the down time, my companions and I steadied our knees, caught our breaths and tried braving the enormous beer lines. I really don’t think the place anticipated so many beer drinking hippies (and bros, worlds colliding, y’all) because all three lines were a mess of side-winding kids, eager for the taste of sweet yeast. Fifteen minutes passed, tensions rose, vocal rebellions began rumbling from all around and just as the friction of “us v. them” was reaching a breaking point, the opening percussive slams of “40 Day Dream” rang out. I, along with many said “fuck it” and made my way to the stage.
The 9 person band charmingly marched through the song, extending the “oohs and aahs” as a courtesy to those just making it to the stage. With the crowd in tow the band took care of nearly all of their album beautifully, sans a few hiccups. “Janglin” “Up From Below” and “Carries On” put the crowd in their palm, singing out and clapping as hard as the music demanded. But “Home” suffered a few stumbles on Alex’s and Jade’s parts:
Of course, it didn’t matter as soon as the chorus hit, which basically transformed everyone into a hybrid campfire singalong/raindance. The rest of the set hit all the right notes. “Desert Song” was preceded by a childhood story of Alex of watching the moon orbit around his head, “Om Nashi Me” was fueled by handclaps from every corner, and the band closed pre-encore with the typically positive vibes of the unreleased “Hei Hai”:
After the bro-created chants of “Uno mas!” the band returned to the stage, but Alex started an indian circle in our center and sang a song I sadly don’t remember (“Brother” maybe?) It doesn’t really matter, it was a moment to embrace each other and severely hug it out after a great fucking show. The final notes rang, everyone traded sweat and Edward and his Zeros waved farewell. For their first time in New Mexico, they left a great first impression.
Now excuse me while I return to my post-show blues.
Dawes – When My Time Comes
Dawes – Peace In The Valley
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – 40 Day Dream
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Desert Song
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Home (RAC Mix)