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Big Easy Express Review

Laura Martin ’14 / Emertainment Monthly Editor

Hop on the train for a ride of your life, with “The Big Easy Express.” Photo Credit: Julie Ling.

2800 miles traveled in a week and a half. This was the cross-country journey of Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show, the explosive combination undeniably a bit more than just cargo. These three bands traveled from Oakland, California to New Orleans, Louisiana, making several stops along the way to spread the beauty that is collaboration and the true soul of folk music. Filmmaker Emmett Malloy brings you this journey in The Big Easy Express, a concert film and road movie in one. It is both the rebirth of elements of a past era as well as an introduction to a new era filled with musical exploration and experimentation.

The music of the film is authentic, crisp, and clear. It will give you that goosebump sensation of a live concert, minus the live. But don’t let that discourage you: this film is likely the closest equivalent to holding Mumford or Edward Sharpe tickets in your hands. The film is its own soundtrack, no filler music needed, and you are invited to revisit your favorite songs from your favorite artists. While a complete set list of the film would certainly give too much away, rest assured that if you make the time to see The Big Easy Express, you will hear the singles you love performed in a way you have never heard them before.

The film itself is visually dazzling as well, relying on the natural lighting of the world to convey the heartwarming tone of the bands’ voyage. The trip is complete with outside concerts at the break of sunset, and snapshots of breathtaking parts of our country we did not know still existed. We are rewarded with intermittent black-and-white shots that contribute to the old time feel that makes us forget we are not watching home movies.

Somewhere between Marfa, Texas and Austin, Texas a fan attempts to jump on the train, a mild detour from the smooth journey thus far, but surely many of us can identify with the desperation of the fan lucky enough to get close to the train. Who could blame them when the train ride is the after-party that never quite ends. Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show play a series of concerts strung together by post-show jam sessions until 5 am. The Big Easy Express serves up a clever balance of the well-known and the never-before-seen or heard. And, for those diehard folk fans, the finale promises a remarkable rendition of a classic folk tune that is worth the price of a concert ticket.

Thankfully, you don’t have to pay the price of a concert for this one. The Museum of Fine Arts is screening the film on October 24th 4-5:10 pm, October 26th 4:15-5:25 pm, October 28th 3:15-4:20 pm, October 31st 8-9:10 pm, and November 1st 6-7:10 pm for just $7 for students, MFA members, and seniors. It is $8 for nonmembers.

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