Last night I went to go see the Railroad Revival Tour in San Pedro headlined by Mumford and Sons. You can read all about the tour here if you want to but it’s basically three bands taking a train from show to show and spreading the joy of new(ish) folk music. Given the recent popularity of Mumford and Sons I was expecting a college age crowd decked out in their finest Urban Outfitter attire and I wasn’t disappointed. What I wasn’t expecting was everyone throwing away their attempted hipster cool and breaking out into good ol fashioned foot stomping during the heavy bluegrass music of Old Crow Medicine Show. I was kind of taken aback by a 20 year old in a fedora and scarf finally putting to use the square dance lessons he had to take in 5th grade, it was actually quite refreshing to see. Mumford and Sons were much better live than I was expecting. I knew it would be hard pulling off a big sound without electric instruments or a drum set but they did it really well. What was cool is that they used their voices as the main source of power for their music. They way the sang their melodies and let them soar over the instruments was really inspiring and allowed their passion to shine through.
Because I’m a theology geek I couldn’t help but notice all the religious overtones to the evening. The first person on the stage for the night welcomed us to the show and wished us a happy Good Friday, which I thought was awesome and kind of weird at the same time. Maybe my favorite moment of the entire show was when M&S played a new song called “Lover of the Light” and a woman next to me asked her boyfriend “Is this some kind of Christian thing?” and he quickly responded with “Please don’t ruin this for me!” Even if you didn’t want to acknowledge the Christian themes echoing through the music it was still a cool experience to hear them sing “Roll Away Your Stone” and “Awake My Soul” on Good Friday.
I’m not sure if everyone had the same sense that I did as we participated in these songs but I truly felt it was a celebration of the darkness and uncertainty of faith. People were able to sing and dance in the face of all that frustrates and discourages us. There is a sense of calling to their music that boarders on hopeful yet realistic to the conditions we live in. Last night was a chance to release some of the constant tension and reach out for something to help us get through another day… whatever that may be for you. Here’s “Awake My Soul” for you to listen to, hopefully it means something to you as well.