Monsters of Folk

ACL Live Shots

ACL Live Shots
Photo by John Anderson

Monsters of Folk

Zilker Park, Oct. 9

The Monsters of Folk made several things evident Saturday. First, they have a sense of humor. Why else would they choose a 1970s soul track, William DeVaughn's "Be Thankful for What You Got," as their entrance music? Second, although composed of musicians who've made their names with other acts – Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, M. Ward as a solo act and with She & Him, and don't forget Austin's own Will Johnson of Centro-matic – they're obviously enjoying playing together as a band, one which allows them the freedom to do things they might not otherwise do in their other incarnations. James showed his quieter side, while Oberst and Ward never rock as hard as they do with MOF. It was evident that the quintet's definition of folk is as broad as Dylan with the Band. For almost two hours, they concentrated on tunes from their only disc, last year's eponymous Monsters of Folk, but also retrofitted tunes from their other catalogs (MMJ's "Golden," Bright Eyes' "Soul Singer in a Session Band") into a set that was as gratifying as anything else the weekend offered.

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