LIVE REVIEW: Railroad Revival Tour @ Shoreline Park, Oakland 4/21

April 26. 2011 | By Ann Ravanos

Photo by David Korman

On April 21st, I was lucky enough to see the kick-off show of the Railroad Revival Tour, featuring Old Crow Medicine Show, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Mumford & Sons. This tour was something I have been looking forward to attending because the concept behind it really intrigued me. All three bands are taking an old train across country for one week, stopping in various cities, so they can make music together while on the road. I also have a big fascination with barefoot banjo players that can also play the fiddle with their teeth, so this seemed like the perfect show for me to attend….

The show was held at Shoreline Park in Oakland and had a strong festival vibe to it: a lot of food and drink vendors, port-a-potties and stoners laying in the grass passing joints to their neighbors. From what I understand, this show sold out within the first hour or so of tickets going on sale, which wasn’t surprising given the amount of people that rushed to the stage when Old Crow started playing at 6:00pm. Having them start the show was a great choice, because these guys are full of energy and really get the crowd moving. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many California surfer bros get down to some good ol’ fashioned southern honkey tonk.

Photo by David Korman

The guys of Old Crow are your stereotypical southern boys: bare feet, string instrument in their hands, thick southern accents and very charming storytellers. To be honest, I can’t remember what song they opened with because I was too memorized with the atmosphere. Not only did the high energy of the crowd stop me in my tracks, but having the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline as a backdrop ain’t too shabby. After telling stories about their hometown and their momma’s (of course), Old Crow launched into a couple of my favorite songs, “Down Home Girl” and “CC Rider.” Towards the end of their set, they ended with probably their most well known song, and always the one to get everyone singing along, “Wagon Wheel.” For a group of guys who are only a string band, it’s pretty amazing to see what they can do on stage… you don’t even realize there aren’t any drums or loud guitars by the way they present their music.

Photo by David Korman

Once the sun started to set, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zero’s appropriately took the stage. Maybe it’s just me, but this band is perfect for playing while the sun is setting because it reflects the nature of this band. A little more well known than Old Crow, the crowd only grew larger once Sharpe took the stage. Even though it’s hard to play an entire album within an hour set, they covered a good chunk of it- obviously playing “Home,” “Janglin,” and “40 Day Dream.” Seeing them play was a really enjoyable experience because they were all so happy to be up there, which put me (and I’m sure everyone else) in a really good mood. The band is huge, taking up the entire stage, and using every inch of it to their benefit, a lot of dancing and jumping around on their behalf. Sharpe is a great performer that really involves himself with the crowd. He spent more time in the crowd than he did on the stage. Needless to say, the people up front were getting a special treat by having Edward Sharpe sing to them, hold their hands and share a dance. One of my favorite things about this set was seeing how happy they made everybody. Even if you don’t like a large group of barefoot hippie musicians, there’s no doubt in my mind these guys can’t make you smile.

Photo by David Korman

Photo by David Korman

After the sun was gone and Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zeros finished their set, people were getting ready for the “main attraction,” Mumford & Sons. Once 8:45 rolled around, they took the stage, opening with “Sigh No More,” which was a great was to climax into the next song, “Roll Away Your Stone.” Their set wasn’t as organic as the other two, but definitely incredible. There wasn’t a single person standing around me that wasn’t singing along and bouncing around with the rhythm of Mumford’s banjo.

Photo by David Korman

Photo by David Korman

These guys were just as excited as all of us to be there. Their happy faces reflected the ones that were on Old Crow’s and Sharpe’s faces. It’s always fun to see the first show of a tour, especially when each band looks out at the crowd and can’t believe that so many people showed up. Mumford & Sons live really surprised me. I enjoy this band very much, but I didn’t expect they’d put on a show that literally left me taken aback by their music. They are a band that one must see live to fully appreciate them. Their stage presence leaves you wanting more and their music sounds 8,000x’s better stripped away from a production board.

The Bay Area was lucky to be a part of the short-lived Railroad Revival Tour. Individually, these bad are a shame to be missed; all three together was something truly special, just incredible.

For more photos, go HERE.

Photo by David Korman

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