This past Friday, Nashville’s Judah & the Lion played to a sold out Fillmore crowd on their Going to Mars tour. Their newest album, Folk Hop N’ Roll, perfectly describes how the band melds acoustic arrangements and alternative rock to bring a high energy, completely mesmerizing set. By blending banjo and mandolin with verses so quick and percussive they often almost turn into raps, they’ve been able to create a niche of their own. They opened with a cover of “Booty Wurk,” immediately gaining my respect and setting the tone for a night full of dancing, hilarious banter and great music.
Tall Heights started off the show with a set characterized by beautiful harmonies and accentuated by a live cello. The Boston band was very well received despite being met with playful boos and a loud “The Patriots suck!!” after sharing their city or origin. Thankfully, we were able to put our differences aside and enjoy “Spirit Cold,” a soft and spacey tune where they used two cell phones put together to create mic feedback that somehow exactly matched the song’s pitch — the effect was mind-blowing.
Colony House took the stage next and, despite being a long-time listener, I was wildly unprepared for how great they are live. Their set kicked off with the groovin “Silhouettes,” performed with incredible energy and an infectious stage presence. They played off of the lyric “nothing silhouettes ‘till the lights come on” in the last chorus, completely blacking out the stage for an extended and dramatic pause before coming back in full force and finishing the verse’s driving riffs. Their versatility was very apparent as they journeyed from indie to rock to acoustic. Lead singer Caleb Chapman played an acoustic rendition of “Moving Forward” alone before being re-joined by the rest of the band who filled in harmonies and tamborine.
The 2,500 cap venue was completely packed with an audience of people of all shapes and sizes by the time Judah & the Lion took the stage. Happiness radiated from frontman Judah Akers as he twirled and jumped around the stage. Along with playing their hits such as “Take It All Back” and “Suit and Jacket,” they also brought the members of Colony House back out to cover the timeless classic “Mr. Brightside.”
After finishing the cover that turned into a full venue sing-along, three screens behind them lit up with an outer space scene, pulling the crowd deeper into the world of their latest single “Going To Mars.” Every aspect of their set worked together to create a cohesive and entrancing atmosphere. They have consistently put on some of my favorite live performances and it’s been awesome to see how, in less than six months, they’ve more than doubled the size of their headlining crowds and are continuing to gain traction and recognition.
Check out photos from Friday night’s concert in the gallery below.
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