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- Posted on Aug 8th 2010 12:00PM by Charley Rogulewski
Tim Mosenfelder, Getty Images
"Hey, guys in the trees and all the way out there behind," Ebert called out to his fans after his girlfriend and frontwoman Jade Castrinos pointed them out from the stage.
What sets this band apart from most other bands these days is that you never know what you're going to get. Ebert will stretch choruses and add impromptu verses like he did on Saturday's opener and fan favorite '40 Day Dream.' Castrinos will playfully change lyrics. The band will segue into other songs with percussion and drum jams. With some ten members making up Ed Sharpe, the music is a swirling wall of sound with tambourines, horns, accordion, classical piano and guitars that when joined with the lyrics of a song like 'Home' -- "Home, home is wherever I'm with you" -- make you feel like the band is giving you a hug.
When the band stopped by Spinner's west coast offices last fall for an Interface taping, Ebert said he wrote his songs in hopes of "building a house for everyone to stay in," and the Lolla set was indeed one that audience members felt like they had been personally invited inside for.
Most songs from the set were off the band's must-have 2009 debut 'Up From Below,' among them 'Janglin' and the calmer 'Carries On.' By the time Ed Sharpe started their closer, the cathartic, chant-friendly 'Om Nashi Me,' which built like an instrumental a capella with each player starting after another, there was not one person in the crowd that wasn't dancing along and singing the "I love you. And I love you forever. And I'm loving you now" lyrics. "You guys should see what you look like," Ebert said beforehand. "You guys look beautiful." He eventually wound up in the crowd, smiling like a kid from the response the band was getting.
And when it comes to festival encores, which are hard to come by, Ed Sharpe certainly earned theirs. "You guys wanna do something fun and kinda special?" Ebert asked the eager crowd. "But it entails all of you sitting down." Then the sea of heads in front of the stage crouched down -- a challenging feat given the lack of space -- and Ebert wandered into the middle of the crowd and performed 'Brother' as everyone sat around him. It was like Ebert had indeed invited people into his house to hear what was arguably one of the most memorable Lollapalooza sets in the festival's history.
Watch Edward Sharpe jump into the crowd and throw in some improvisation during the band's performance of '40 Day Dream':