After the film and after a brief Q and A, Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford and Sons, and Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros took the stage in the Paramount Theater. They started off playing a new Mumford song and then played another Mumford song, Roll Away Your Stone. It was powerful with all three bands playing together; it was breathtaking. I was blown away by the sheer talent and emotion the performance had swelling up in me and in that moment I had become a folk fan. That’s right. I no longer associate banjos and the film Deliverance-oh no! As the song goes, “I was born to be a fiddler in an old-time string band, my baby plays the guitar, I pick a banjo now.”
After several songs, Marcus Mumford stepped away from the microphone and Edward Sharpe started singing. It was odd, but it was not like you were watching three separate bands taking turns playing, it was more like watching one large band of family and friends. It almost like they had been doing this together for years. After four or five songs, Mumford and Sons, Old Crow, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros took a bow, said their goodbyes and left the stage. However, if you remember the title of this story I said two performances. A few hours later and one hell of a walk from downtown Austin to the University of Austin in uptown it was time to do it all over again at the SXSW MySpace party. The show at the university went like this: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros opened and I must say it was a great set, but Edward, man, you got stains on your white outfit! But that gives you class and wisdom I say. Then there is Edward’s counterpart, Jade Castrinos (love that name by the way). She seems to be a true flower child; her dancing and her facial expressions all say to me a weekend spent with her would be a mind-altering experience in a great way.
During the Mumford and Sons set they brought on the Austin University marching band and it was fucking awesome. They did this in the film too but seeing in person was amazing. All you heard was what sounded like giant war drums from back stage, and then all of a sudden an army of white and red uniforms took the stage playing with Mumford and Sons. The funny part was that the Austin band seemed calm, cool and collected but Mumford and Sons were like kids in a candy shop. You could tell they just thought it was the coolest thing ever to play their songs with a band like this. It’s almost like they don’t even know who they are; I mean its fucking Mumford and Sons in my humble opinion! I think, wait, I know, this band is going to go down in history as a great band, and not only that but they are going to go as one of my greatest. Continuing their run, the new songs they played that night are just as amazing as the ones from their first album.
After a few songs with the Austin band, they left but not before giving Mumford their rival school’s clock and all Marcus had to say was something along the lines of, “I don’t know who their rival school is but Fuck ‘em.” After the Austin band left once again Old Crow, Mumford, and the Magnetic Zeros all took the stage again to play us out and what a perfect song they played: Wagon Wheel. It was one greatest song performances I have ever seen; they were all singing and dancing so enthusiastically. The only sad part was the fact that Edward Sharpe had to look up the lyrics on his phone when it was his turn to sing the song. Still, it was powerful, and I mean tear-jerking. There was so much excitement on the stage, but you could tell it was bittersweet. You could tell all three bands had become brothers and sisters and there were so many hugs to be had after the song finished. It seemed like saying goodbye was something none of us wanted to do. We didn’t want to say goodbye to the music, to each other, to the city, but I guess we all have to leave wonderland at a certain point. After another group bow it was time to wave goodbye and say good night.
by Josh Davis