“It was surreal to preform in arenas across the country with 21 Pilots,” said Judah & the Lion drummer Spencer Cross. “We love playing in all different situations: clubs, theaters, festivals, but there’s something about an arena that really hits you.”
From playing 100-200 capacity venues to opening consecutive nights for the 2017 Emotional Roadshow tour with the well known, highly praised, Twenty One Pilots, Cross explained, “With arenas, I feel like one of the main things is learning to engage the crowd. It’s a lot bigger room, so you have to think about how you can best engage people and get them singing along, and as an opener, help introduce yourselves and tell a bit of your story.”
While spending quite sometime on the road with Tyler Joseph, Josh Dun, and their crew, Cross and the rest of Judah & the Lion relished the opportunity to peek behind the scenes into how a massive tour (like the Emotional Roadshow) comes to be.
“Each time we open for somebody, we always watch carefully and take mental notes of everything that’s going on,” Cross explained. “With Twenty One Pilots, we learned a lot about what going into making a tour of that size work, and the level of professionalism and attention to detail that’s needed.”
Cross stated how impressed he and the rest of his small band from Tennessee were at the crew men’s work ethic and intentionality in every part of their set.
“It was a blast going on tour with them,” Cross admitted and further described the two piece band as “humble and inspirational guys.”
Judah & the Lion recently released the deluxe edition of their sophomore album, Folk Hop ‘n’ Roll, which included four brand new songs. The additions: “Suit and Jacket” and “Going to Mars”, each carry a message of encouragement. Cross aspires for Judah & the Lion’s music to drive and provide inspiration for listeners.
“We love making honest music and want to continue to push the boundary on our creative limits,” Cross explained. “Ultimately, we hope people leave our shows feeling more hopeful and encouraged. That’s a theme that is a part of our story and who we are, and will be one that sticks around.”
Cross’ response was as true as he and the band are to themselves. “We want to be the best and authentic “Judah & the Lion” we can be. We’re constantly searching for a sound and a song that’s most “us” and that’s all you can really do.” Cross continued on saying, “all we want to do is make honest music and be the best “we” we can be, and everything else just happens.”
Away from business and work and in addition meeting Jon Bellion, Joseph and Dun, Judah & the Lion loved meeting the crew behind the scenes. “It’s unreal how many people it takes to put on a show like that,” Cross explained with amazement, “We loved just the everyday routine of running into folks and getting dinner with them at the arena.” When the tour stopped in Charleston, S.C., Judah & the Lion, plus Bellion and Twenty One Pilots decided to go bowling – a specific memory to take away from this tour. However, don’t ask him which team won…
Next step for Judah & the Lion: more touring. The four-piece kick off their Going to Mars tour in Charlotte, N.C. with openers Wilderado. Then onto opening for Incubus and Jimmy Eat World which includes music festivals throughout the summer. Cross and the band still have dreams bigger than what they’ve already accomplished, “We almost hit every state in the U.S. so the places that come to mind are a little further out there: Ireland, Japan, Australia… we have a long list!”