Mentioned in our SXSW Screenings edition of Music Flicks, Emmett Malloy’s Big Easy Express emerged as the fan favorite of this year’s SXSW Film Festival. The film captures 2011’s Railroad Revival Tour, featuring Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, and Old Crow Medicine Show. Spanning 10 days, the tour packed 160+ people on 12 vintage railroad cars traveling from Oakland, CA to New Orleans, LA.
Focusing less on the tour itself and more on the camaraderie between the musicians, Big Easy Express is not your average tour documentary. Essentially, the film showcases a talented group of people making non-stop music (seriously, they seemingly never slept) while traveling across America’s majestic landscape. How could that not be amazing?
Big Easy Express made its worldwide premiere last Saturday, March 17th at Austin’s Paramount Theatre. Following the screening, Emmett Malloy and producers Tim Lynch, Mike Luba and Bryan Ling answered questions about the tour and documentary. Those in attendance were also treated to a 45 minute acoustic set from Gill Landry of Old Crow Medicine Show, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, and Mumford & Sons. Mumford and Sons even debuted a new song, called “‘Where Are You Now.”
Saturday night, after the official premiere, Myspace hosted an encore screening and concert at University of Texas’ LBJ lawn. Members of all three bands kicked off the event by playing songs (appropriately enough) about trains, including a song called “‘Train In The Sky” that was penned during the tour.
Then, as the sun set, Big Easy Express was projected onto a huge blow-up screen before thousands of attendees. Immediately following the screening, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros played about an hour’s worth of music. They delighted the crowd with singles like “Home” and “40 Day Dream,” newly recorded tracks, and consistently brought up the members of Mumford, Old Crow, and more to fill out the set.
Finally, it was time for Mumford and Sons. Yay! They played a beautiful, energetic set filled with well-known hits and, most importantly, a number of brand new songs. The real highlight of the show was “The Cave.” Featured in the documentary and at the Railroad Revival Tour’s Austin stop, the Austin High School Marching Band were once again invited on-stage to perform with Mumford and Sons. The crowd went wild…
To bring it all home, members from all three bands gathered on stage to perform Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel.”
As someone who was quite bitter that I missed the Railroad Revival Tour (tickets went fast!), I was thrilled with the opportunity to watch the magic be re-kindled. It was a night to remember and one of my favorite SXSW moments of all time.
– Submitted by Jessica Reed, Social Media