Space Helmets? Irish Cloggers? An intense love for chocolate? A remarkable Judah & the Lion show on the ‘Going To Mars Tour’

Photo by Caitlin Malson

Space Helmets? Irish Cloggers? An intense love for chocolate?

That’s the three major keys that make up a folk hop ‘n’ roll show.

Read more: From clubs to arenas, Nashville’s Judah & the Lion is going to Mars

Judah & the Lion spend more days throughout the year living on a tourbus – migrating from city to city performing one of a kind, sold-out shows – than not. The foursome behind the ever creative and unique genre, folk hop ‘n’ roll recently completed a North America tour supporting Grammy Award winners Twenty Pilots, and without break, began their own statewide headlining tour. The grind never stops for Nashville natives and that’s just the way they like it.

We’ve almost hit every state in the U.S. so the places [we still want to visit] are a little further out there: Ireland, Japan, Australia…. we have a long list!

The band live for creating a unique and unrivaled atmosphere with their live show. In fact, Judah & the Lion have mentioned before that their music is built for the stage. The four-piece yanks their audience out of a lull immediately upon hitting the stage with their opening track “Suit And Jacket”. It features a slow build-up exposes the band’s distinct element within the first 30 seconds. The banjo kicks in and the lyrics straightaway set the tone. “I ain’t trading my youth for no suit and jacket, I ain’t giving my freedom for your money and status”. It’s a fitting start to the Going To Mars Tour.

Photos by Caitlin Malson

Judah & the Lion takes the crowd on a roller coaster ride of emotion throughout the setlist. While the vibe remains at the peak for the majority of the performance, the coaster dives and weaves through valleys as the band transitions from the downtempo “Hold On” to the uptempo “Kickin’ da Leaves”.

With three full-length albums to their name since 2014, Judah & the Lion’s musical quiver is dynamic and deep – however the band effortlessly gives attention to all three in their 18-song set. In fact, the band even makes room for two covers, including The Killer’s “Mr. Brightside” and the fan favorite “Booty Wurk (One Cheek At a Time)” from T-Pain. It’s unconventional, but Judah & the Lion owns the moment.

Expected or not, Judah & the Lion incorporates plenty of theatrics throughout the performance. From mandolinist Brian Macdonald’s crowd surfing stint to a prop space helmet appearance for “Going To Mars” to random Charlotte-based Irish cloggers, there’s never a dull moment with the four-piece. They’re entertaining as ever and there’s a true desire for an encore amongst the crowd. Unsurprisingly, Judah & the Lion fulfills the audience’s wishes, but the surprisingly delve deep into their catalog for the highly anticipated encore. The band performed Folk Hop ‘N’ Roll‘s “Better Man” and Kids These Days‘s “Water” to close out the show musically before parting ways with a final few lasting words:

“Eat more chocolate, always dance like no one’s watching and always listen to more Judah and Wilderado.”

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