Review: Judah and the Lion at The Starlite Room

Judah and the Lion Need No Taming

 

Meet the Band

Judah and the Lion are relatively new to the music scene, but to my surprise, the band has released three albums with a fourth on the way. With a home base in Nashville, TN, the earthy group made their way to Edmonton for the first time on April 2, 2017. The visit marked their northern most stop on the Going to Mars tour.

You’ve most likely heard their most recent single, Take it All Back, if you follow the alternative music scene in Edmonton. Thankfully, the band is much more than their one hit. During the show, Judah addressed the audience with a simple quote: We love rock music, we love banjo music, we love mandolin music, and we wanted to make music that reflects what we love. The group is a veritable melting pot of genres, as is evidenced by their latest album title: Folk Hop n’ Roll, and the company they keep (Judah and the Lion opened for Twenty One Pilots on several tour dates in 2017 and they’ll be on tour with Kaleo later this year). I took note of the creative use of the accordion and the organ during their performance. It was tough to decipher all of the genres that they tapped into, but I heard hip hop, folk, Celtic and gospel influences, to name a few. Let’s not forget that Judah is also a rather gifted rapper.

Socks. They are VERY passionate about socks. So much so, that they insisted on having the garments as part of their merchandise.

They’re the nicest guys in town. Without having the chance to meet them first-hand, I’ll have to take the word on the street. Maybe it’s the southern hospitality, but they sure know how to make an audience feel at home.

What to Expect at a live show

Hold on to your butts, because things are about to get crazy. My first impression as they took the stage, was that they are feral animals who deliver music exactly as I want it: wild and raw. I was awestruck at the amount of energy that these men brought to the stage. As a matter of fact, I was out of breath on their behalf. How they managed to maintain their enthusiasm for 90+ minutes is beyond me.

They are all about the audience participation. Judah spoke about letting go of self-consciousness. He encouraged everyone to dance to a few songs, but he stressed that everyone needed to participate, so that no one felt embarrassed for either dancing, or not dancing. He taught us lyrics to new songs, we sang loudly to familiar ones and many people were on the receiving end of a high-five, as Judah climbed onto the bar wearing a space helmet.

The show was peppered with a wide range of cover songs, ranging from the Killers to T Pain. Is it possible that I heard some Gloria Estefan riffs in there?

The Verdict

If you only like one kind of music, this is not the band for you. If you like high-energy, incredibly talented and personable musicians, I think you can see where I’m going with this. I can honestly say I walked into the show not knowing much about the band, and I walked out a fan.

Photos

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