Judah and the Lion’s passion shone brightly at their concert on October 1


Months of pent-up anticipation led up to a short couple hours of some groovy tunes with some spectacular people at the Intersection. Hours after the Judah and the Lion concert finished, those same tunes still echoed endlessly in my head. Each song now holds new memories- memories of uncontainable energy, immeasurable amounts joy, and crazy good banjo playing.

Before the main act, Judah and the Lion was opened by Tyson Motsenbocker whose name distracted me and my friends from his actual music, but all the same, I did appreciate his acoustic sound and the boyish smile he offered the crowd. His wide-brimmed hat cast a dark shadow over his eyes as he concentrated on each chord that he carefully strummed on his guitar, his music progressively relaxing his stance and presence. The music was generally a more relaxed vibe, and it appealed more to the indie and folk side of Judah and the Lion.

The second opener was called The Academic. Instead of the light sound of Motsenbocker’s voice and guitar, the Academic had a rock-based sound. Every part of their performance screamed boy band to me; their style, instruments, and music were very average and stereotypical. Their movements on stage seemed quick and jerky, like constantly bopping their head or rocking their hips, and the lead singer’s voice reflected that disconnect. Despite my cynism and skeptical attitude toward them, the crowd appeared to feed off their energy and find pleasure their music.

Finally, the stage was left empty, and the anticipation grew as the stage was then carefully set up for Judah and the Lion. After what felt like hours, the lights slowly began to dim, making the crowd roar with a lion-like ferocity. A few more minutes later and outlined shadows emerged from the darkness of the backstage to take their places. All around me faces were aglow from the luminous stage lights that illuminated their happy grins. A beat of the drum and a quick pluck of the banjo, and the real show had finally begun.

While most know their hit “Take It All Back,” few know their countless other songs that shine just as brightly and exhibit Judah and the Lion’s obviously abundant talent. However, no matter how many times you listen to their recorded songs, there’s nothing like listening to those exact songs being performed in close proximity with such liveliness and passion. I felt as if I could see their souls radiating with such a genuine glow of elation and gratitude as they played their songs. During the song “Kickin da Leaves,” the whole band was bopping and bouncing all over the stage as if there was nothing in the world that could suppress their jolly and soaring spirits.

I knew each of their songs by heart, so seeing them live was extraordinary. For me, songs that I’ve replayed hundreds of times generally become stale in my brain past the point of irritation. On the contrary, Judah and the Lion songs have yet to grow old. Their songs have such a diverse range of sounds that each song always feels fresh and new. Some songs have a sharper sound of thumping drums and pronounced chords; whereas others are the sound of a relaxing, happy day.

To wrap up the concert, all the bands came together for one last campfire-style sing-along. It such an intimate moment of people swaying to the beat and sweetly singing along to the words that everyone knew all too well of Lean on Me by Bill Withers. Ending the concert in that way felt very personal, and it accentuated the fact that everyone was coming together as a community to listen to music and bond over it.

What I loved most about the concert was that every so often, the band would look at each other mid-song, seemingly cherishing that moment and the fact that their dreams were a reality. That was something that separated Judah and the Lion from other bands I’ve watched. They weren’t caught up in all of their fame or wealth; all they wanted to do was make music and share their passion with the world. Their sincerity and pure joy were overwhelming to me, and it made me reflect on that attitude toward life.

Judah and the Lion was overall a spectacular experience, and that concert made my love for them grow. Their complete passion and positive energy continue to stand out in the music industry, showing the world their exceptional talent.