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How did Alex Ebert transform from the ironic New Wave-informed frontman of the synth-infused Ima Robot into the barefooted hippie leading the peace-and-love brigade known as Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros? Cynics suggest that it’s all a pose designed to erase the past and capitalize on the success of bands like the Polyphonic Spree by casting Ebert as some sort of messianic figure leading an Age of Aquarius-style cult.

Trouble is, the Polyphonic Spree, while often excellent, was never really all that commercially popular. And watching Ebert front Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, you’d have to be pretty hardened to believe his desire to craft uplifting music is anything other than genuine.

If you missed the band the last time it rolled through town to perform during the final season of Thursday at Lafayette Square, you can make up for it tonight, when Ebert brings Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros to Thursday at Canalside. Show time is 5 p.m. and admission is free. Synth-pop maverick Jean-Phillip Grobler, aka St. Lucia, and Welsh alt-rockers the Room will open.

– Jeff Miers