Review: Judah & the Lion Unify Through Music at Newport Music Hall

The last time I saw Judah & the Lion was at Firefly Music Festival in June. They played an afternoon set at the main stage where the weather was perfect and they played a surprisingly good cover of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.”

I remember how much fun everyone had dancing, singing along, and the genuine good vibes of their folk-hip hop sound.  The second time seeing them I am home in Columbus, Ohio at the Newport Music Hall in October. Having opened up for Columbus duo, twenty one pilots, I was sure the band was going to get major love from this particular crowd.

The show opened up with Tyson Motsenbocker, a singer-songwriter from San Diego, California. His short set appealed to the folk side of the Judah audience and he had a story behind every song which I found very endearing and relatable in connecting with fans.

The next act before Judah & the Lion came on was The Academic, a four piece indie rock band from Mullingar, Ireland.

The young quartet has already made impressive marks in their career opening up for other notable bands such as Catfish and the Bottlemen and The Strokes while also garnering 7 million streams on Spotify. The Academic’s stage presence shows the hard work and perseverance that they have put in from their early days in 2014 and primary focus on the music.

No gimmicks, no fancy lights, just pure musical talent. My favorite songs that they performed were “Chasers” and “Sometimes” which I believe showed their own innovative take on indie rock with eccentric hooks and new takes on guitar riffs.

“We’re really far away from home in Ireland, but this show feels like home so thank you, Columbus,” lead singer Craig Fitzgerald said.

I can see a lot of promise for this young band from Ireland. The next time they come through Columbus, I will definitely be attending.

Judah & the Lion came onstage with a hilarious cover of “Booty Wurk” by T-Pain and then started their opening song “Hold On.” Front man, Judah Lee, dressed in all white, encouraged love and unity among the crowd.

“We’re all family tonight,” Lee said at one point. He managed to keep that feeling alive among the crowd with crowd participation such as inviting a fan up onstage during their cover of “Mr. Brightside.”

The show ended with all of the artists coming out to sing a rendition of “Lean on Me.” This was really nice to see in light of the horrific mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas on October 1 that left 58 dead and 500 wounded. I left feeling lighthearted which I believe was the intent.

It made me remember why I love live music so much.

Judah & the Lion still gave me all of the good feelings that I had when I first saw them at Firefly and I thank them for using their platform to spread unity and love during these difficult times.

You can listen to Judah & the Lion’s latest Folk Hop N’ Roll below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *