Alternative band Judah & The Lion stops at Brady Theater on their “Pep Talks” worldwide tour.
The notion of seeing Judah & The Lion live had been hyped up to me by several of my peers in the weeks leading up to their show at Brady Theater. Having been several years since their last stint in Tulsa, it was no surprise that I recognized many faces from TU at the show. The openers, a Swedish pop-duo named Flora Cash, were confusing to say the least. With technical difficulties throughout the set and random failed attempts at stand-up comedy, I wasn’t quite sure what I was watching. However, it only made it that much more exciting when the headliners started to play.
Beginning with the bop “Quarter-Life Crisis,” Judah & The Lion immediately had the crowd going. Rainbow lights lit up a white sheet covering the band from view. Their silhouettes could be made out, jumping and stunting from the stage. The band performed songs spanning their entire collection, including tunes from their first EP “Tennessee Whiskey.”
A particularly entertaining part of the event was when the audience was divided into two teams and made to compete for the most enthusiasm and energy. Being on team Nate was an honor, as I got to cheer on the impeccable banjo skills of one of the original three band members. Further into the evening, lead singer Judah Akers would perform the hit “JOYBOY” wearing a cape embroidered with the song title. He seemed to have an unlimited amount of energy as he ran about the stage, into the audience and layed on the ground kicking his feet into the air. The ending number was extremely comical as the entire band came on stage sporting unitards and hoodies. Starting with “The Hey! Song” and moving into “Take It All Back 2.0” it was a perfect conclusion to an excellent set.
I think my favorite part of the evening was a very intimate performance and story telling moment from Akers during “Queens Song / human.” A captivating segment from the song, “cause I can see your grandkids in the back seat, spillin’ all their sundaes from Dairy Queen,” was explained as having been an actual experience from Aker’s childhood. He and his brother always knew that when their grandmother picked them up from school, it meant they were getting DQ and on one such occasion, Aker’s big brother spilled his sundae in his lap and exclaimed a curse word. It was a really sweet story that only furthered the charm of the song.
Akers’ intermittent discussions and open conversations with the crowd about serious and extremely personal topics really cemented the room as a unit. Akers repeatedly informed the audience that no matter where anyone came from or what anyone was going through, at this concert, we were all family. Cliche? Perhaps. But a genuine message from the band, nonetheless. Near the end of the show, Akers made his way into the middle of the standing area and encouraged those around him to come close to him and sing the words “you are not alone.” Their genuine lyrics of acceptance and hope coupled with a unique blend of music styles, including pop and bluegrass, were more impactful live than on any recording.