Emmett Malloy’s movie “Big Easy Express” captures the fun and magic of Mumford and Sons on a train ride from Oakland to New Orleans
5 / 5 stars
“Big Easy Express” is a great music film about Mumford and Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
I reviewed the iTunes version of “Big Easy Express last year. “I did not want the movie to end,” I wrote at the time.
“It felt like I had been with the bands on the trip and in the audience. “Big Easy Express” left me with that mixed emotion of joy and nostalgia all at once.” Review – Mumford and Sons Big Easy Express.
Big Easy Express will air on Showtime starting in February 2013 and is available on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Big Easy Express Blu-Ray / DVD
The theme of the movie – a train ride across the country with popular bands – is reminiscent of the seminal 1970′s movie Festival Express which featured Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and The Band in a train/concert tour of Canada.
To appreciate the film, it helps to like roots and folk music or be a Mumford and Sons fan.
Mumford and Sons and the Austin High Marching Band “The Cave”
The bands get on the train in Oakland, California and end up in New Orleans. Along the way they stop for track-side concerts in Oakland, San Pedro, Tempe, Marfa, and Austin ending in New Orleans.
Director Malloy breaks up the music with railroad scenery of the American South West, ranging from gritty urban rail yards to gorgeous vistas filmed in black and white, grainy and sharp resolution film. Along with the performances, the movie conveys the camaraderie between the musicians and their fans.
I got my hands on the Blu-Ray / DVD version of the film, which is awesome on a big screen TV with a decent sound system. After watching “Big Easy Express” last night – my 4th time – it was still fresh and exciting.
You can watch “Big Easy Express” as a movie or a movie concert. When the movie was over, my wife said “Play Little Lion Man again.” We went back to the disc menu, refreshed our drinks and played almost every song again.
I get a good feeling every-time I watch this film – that’s why it gets my 5 star rating. On Amazon.com it got a 4.5 rating.
Big Easy Express – Top Songs
Mumford and Sons – “Little Lion Man” and “Sigh No More”
Old Crow Medicine Show – “Wagon Wheel”
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – “Home”
Mumford and Sons
Mumford and Sons broke onto the North American music scene with their February 2011 Grammy appearance alongside Bob Dylan and The Avett Brothers. Since then, they have become the hottest touring act on both sides of the Atlantic. Mumford and Sons Win on Grammys
The tens of millions of Mumford and Sons fans probably have no interest in 1960′s folk music but they love this band. Mumford and Sons are young and bring a fresh, exciting approach to folk music. This is not the quiet folk music of Joan Baez. Mumford and Sons play the guitars and banjos but their songs are performed at a break-neck pace.
Mumford and Sons are phenomenally popular. There are 73,000 Mumford and Sons videos on YouTube with more than 100 million views. Their new CD Babel is charting in the Top 10 CDs while their first CD Sigh No More is still in the top 25.
Old Crow Medicine Show
Old Crow Medicine Show have been around since 1998 playing bluegrass, folk and roots music. At the point this movie was filmed in the Spring of 2011, the band was ready to quit, exhausted by years of touring and personal problems.
A year later they had released a new CD Old Crow Medicine Show – Carry Me Back and were back on the road. This year they are appearing on tour with Mumford and Sons in a few stops on the Gentleman of the Road Tour. The movie was my re-introduction to Old Crow Medicine Show and thanks for that. They are a great band.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Edward Sharpe is the stage name for Alex Ebert and his messianic persona for the band. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zerosis an
improbable ten person indie touring band. Think about the cost of touring ten musicians, their gear and roadies. The upside is the band is entertaining and fun to watch.
Ebert himself is what parents would call weird, as in performing in his long-johns on one song. He believes ”he was sent down to Earth to kinda heal and save mankind…but he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love.”
Ebert is saved by his voice, probably one of the better voices in the film. He is definitely humanized by the charismatic “hippie goddess” singer Jade Castrinos. The band is intriguing and very musical. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are back on the road with Mumford and Sons this year.
Big Easy Express on Showtime
Big Easy Express” is coming to Showtime on Friday, Feb 08, 8:00 PM ET. For the complete list of show times, check the Showtimes site link. Showtime will also be adding “Big Easy Express” to their on demand services.
Like tens of millions of people, I get a lot of my video on demand from Netflix and cable.
For classic concerts and music, a disc is better. The Blu-Ray is the greatest experience with a real 1080p HD video picture and the sound is 5.1 DTS HD. Even the DVD with DTS 5.1 sound will be better than cable. And I can watch it when I want. Like today I’ve re-watched the videos on my computer while I write this review.
The Big Easy Express [Blu-ray+DVD] set is available from Amazon.com for about $15.
The film’s publicist provided a preview of the iTunes version and a copy of the Blu-Ray for this review.