SXSW Review: BIG EASY EXPRESS

By Renee Collins

Rating: 5 (Out of 5)

BIG EASY EXPRESS featuring Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show was the last film I saw on the last day of the 2012 South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival at the Paramount Theater.   In April of 2011, all three bands decide to tour six cities in the United States via train and this film by Emmett Malloy is a cinematic musical of that journey. 

 I must admit I did not know anything about this tour and had only heard of Mumford & Sons.  I knew my niece was a huge Mumford & Son’s fan so I texted her as soon as I read about this film and asked if she would go with me to see it.  Another added bonus was that the bands would be there to perform an acoustical set after the film and my niece was ecstatic.  Turns out she attended the concert when the train stopped here in Austin and since she had a platinum pass for SXSW it was on. 

 Malloy masterfully weaves their journey together spotlighting each band in their own right as they travel in a beautiful antique train starting in California and ending in New Orleans, Louisiana on a “tour of dreams”.  The bands not only perform on stage but gather together for jam session and to write new music which becomes a raucous railway adventure.  It is a true look into the creative process because they are immersed in music as they are, in a way, held captive on the train between cities. 

 I had only heard and liked the music of Mumford & Sons before seeing this film and found myself drawn into the music of two bands I had not heard before more than I thought I would.   They describe their music as “indie folk”.  I must admit I am not too keen a fan of traditional folk music, but I am guessing the “indie” addition is what made me truly like this music because it is not traditional.  I believe this film is the proper length because it kept my attention and by the end I was looking forward to their live performance which was great to see in the Paramount Theater. 

I couldn’t ask for a better end to my 2012 SXSW experience.  This film is fun, engaging, makes everyone want to dance and my niece and I absolutely loved it.  I would recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of indie folk.  If not, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a chance.

 

 

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