Just a mile north of the armies of green-clad party people filling up Sixth Street in downtown Austin, a far more positive vibe was being dealt out on the campus of the University of Texas. Though the show, put together by MySpace, existed outside of the purview of South By Southwest proper, it provided some of the purest musical moments of the entire weekend and trafficked in that rare emotion across the stages of Austin: joy.
Sprawled across a hill on a breezy evening under a lovely Texas sky, thousands showed up for a screening of the documentary Big Easy Express, which tracks the seven-date tour that took Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, and Old Crow Medicine Show from Oakland, California to New Orleans via train. The bulk of Old Crow couldn’t show up on Saturday night (they were represented by member Gill Landry), but both Mumford and the Zeroes were there to celebrate the film and perform new music.
The trio of new songs that cropped up during Mumford & Sons headlining set had all appeared in their live sets before, but they all felt more fully realized than ever, suggesting that the band has fully grown into them. “Ghosts That We Knew” felt especially well-executed: the layered harmonies were on point, and the weepy violin solo gave the bridge some real heft. Bassist Ted Dwayne recently described Mumford & Sons’ upcoming second album as “doom folk,” and the version of “Ghosts That We Knew” played on Saturday night certainly falls under that descriptor.
The band also unleashed “Lover’s Eyes” and “Lover of the Light,” the latter of which found Marcus Mumford pulling a Phil Collins and singing whilst also playing the drum kit. Each of the new tracks was greeted warmly, and the gothic, moody “Lover’s Eyes” definitely has the potential to be a big single for the band.
They already have a handful of those, of course, and Mumford & Sons delivered impassioned versions of each. READ FULL STORY »