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“Going To Mars” with Judah And The Lion at Ritz Raleigh

“Going To Mars” with Judah And The Lion at Ritz Raleigh

Ritz Raleigh was all abuzz this past Sunday for Judah and The Lion’s Going To Mars Tour. This was my first formal introduction to their music, and immediately I was impressed with how much their fans run the gamut. I saw father’s dropping off their teenage daughters. Parents with their kids, equally giddy for the lights to go dim. I reassured one nervous mother with her tween son that there were indeed kids his age waiting as well. Musical tastes are often split between age groups but this tour has managed to appeal to all ages, a generous nod to the artist’s themselves.

Tyson Motsenbocker (2)

The venue was already packed when the first opener, singer and guitarist
Tyson Motsenbocker, stepped on stage. The California native was dressed in all black and armed with just his voice and a guitar. First of all, there’s nothing like a musician that can stand on the merit of just his voice and lyrical content. Tyson has enough poetic abilities to move even the staunchest of doubters. He literally tells you a story before each song, allowing you into his head and heart, a glimpse into the motivation for his music. You couldn’t help but want to hug him when he spoke of his mother before performing “In His Name.” It’s a song about the passing of his mother from cancer and the struggle to deal with the notion of religion and expectation of miracles when none show up. The mix of storytelling and soulful music was a win for me.

The Academics (2)

Next was the band
Academic, a group of young guys from Ireland making their first appearance in Raleigh. On a celebratory note, it was also frontman Craig Fitzgerald’s birthday, with the crowd enthusiastically singing  “Happy Birthday” to him impromptu. These guys embody that teenage “I’m invincible” spirit and you can feel it in their music. Once they hit the stage, the entire feel of the crowd changed. Squeals ensued and for a second I swore I had homework to turn in the next day. I caught myself several times bopping around, the tracks are so dance worthy. Add to the fact these young men can really play,  and even better they write their own music. Their song “Why Can’t We Be Friends” has that light early 90s feel to it; easy to rock out to and most of the tracks off of their effort “Bearclaw” are like that.

Judah and the Lion (3)

By the time Academic finished it was pretty much standing room only. Every time a stage hand wandered too close someone in the crowd would scream thinking Judah and the Lion were coming on stage. I’m a hip hop head and lover of bluegrass and folk music so I was pretty stoked to hear what the band would do. A blend of folk, hip hop AND autotune couldn’t possibly be a bad idea right? Ohhhhh so right you are. The house lights dimmed and the crowd exploded as the band intro played. Let me say this, frontman Judah Lee is a showstopper. Even IF by chance you were crazy enough to not like their “Booty Werk” (T-Pain) cover or Brian McDonald playing the mandolin like a gotdamn beast, Judah himself just reels you in. Whenever he steps behind the mic to sing, he smiles like he’s just come home. Dancing around the stage like there’s no place he’d rather be. There are so many elements to each song though, it’s impossible not to find some part that you enjoy. “Kickin’ Da Leaves” is a folksy track with a serious up tempo that just about any emcee would love to freestyle over. One of the crowd’s favorites “Suit and Jacket” is a mash up of bluegrass and classic rock that had everyone chanting. The song is wonderfully made for stomping and shouting your angst into the rafters.  

Judah and the Lion

Half the battle of a truly great artist or band is making sure every ear listening can feel the passion you have for the music yourself. Judah and the Lion gave us their all and Raleigh is the better for it. Now let me see that booty werk.

See full gallery of the night here!

Catch this tour:

Date Venue Location
Oct 18 Irving Plaza New York, NY Tickets & More
Oct 19 Town Ballroom Buffalo, NY Tickets & More
Oct 20 Paradise Rock Club Boston, MA Tickets & More
Oct 21 Theatre of Living Arts Philadelphia, PA Tickets & More
Oct 22 The 9:30 Club Washington, DC Tickets & More
Oct 25 Metroplex Live Little Rock, AR Tickets & More
Oct 26 Cain’s Ballroom Tulsa, OK Tickets & More
Oct 27 Stubb’s Austin, TX Tickets & More
Oct 28 House of Blues Dallas, TX Tickets & More
Oct 29 White Oak Music Hall Houston, TX Tickets & More
Oct 31 Manchester Apollo Longsight, United Kingdom Tickets & More
Nov 01 Roundhouse London, United Kingdom Tickets & More
Nov 02 The Water Rats London, United Kingdom Tickets & More
Nov 03 Barrowlands Glasgow, United Kingdom Tickets & More
Nov 04 Birmingham Academy Birmingham, United Kingdom Tickets & More
Nov 06 Olympia Theatre Dublin, Ireland Tickets & More
Nov 07 Olympia Theatre Dublin, Ireland Tickets & More
Nov 09 Lotto Arena Antwerp, Belgium Tickets & More
Nov 11 Tempodrom Berlin, Germany Tickets & More
Nov 12 Vega Copenhagen, Denmark Tickets & More
Nov 14 afas live Amsterdam Zuidoost,Netherlands Tickets & More
Nov 15 l’Olympia Paris, France Tickets & More
Nov 17 STADTHALLE Offenbach, Germany Tickets & More
Nov 18 Gasometer Vienna, Austria Tickets & More
Nov 21 Lucema Velky Sal Prague, Czech Republic Tickets & More
Nov 22 Progresja Club Warsaw, Poland Tickets & More
Feb 03, 2018 The Jones Assembly Oklahoma City, OK Tickets & More
Feb 05, 2018 The Van Buren Phoenix, AZ Tickets & More
Feb 06, 2018 House of Blues Anaheim, CA Tickets & More
Feb 08, 2018 The Belasco Theatre Los Angeles, CA Tickets & More
Feb 09, 2018 House of Blues San Diego, CA Tickets & More
Feb 10, 2018 House of Blues Las Vegas, NV Tickets & More
Feb 12, 2018 The Fillmore San Francisco, CA Tickets & More
Feb 14, 2018 Ace of Spades Sacramento, CA Tickets & More
Feb 16, 2018 Showbox SoDo Seattle, WA Tickets & More
Feb 17, 2018 Commodore Ballroom Vancouver, Canada Tickets & More
Feb 18, 2018 Knitting Factory Concert Hall Spokane, WA Tickets & More
Feb 19, 2018 Roseland Theatre Portland, OR Tickets & More
Feb 21, 2018 In The Venue Salt Lake City, UT Tickets & More
Feb 23, 2018 Palace Theatre St. Paul, MN Tickets & More
Feb 24, 2018 Uptown Theatre Kansas City, MO Tickets & More
Mar 01, 2018 Georgia Theatre Athens, GA Tickets & More
Mar 03, 2018 The Moon Tallahassee, FL Tickets & More
Mar 05, 2018 Bogart’s Cincinnati, OH Tickets & More
Mar 06, 2018 Orpheum Theatre Madison, WI Tickets & More
Mar 08, 2018 St. Andrews Hall Detroit, MI Tickets & More
Mar 09, 2018 Phoenix Concert Theatre Toronto, Canada Tickets & More
Mar 10, 2018 House of Blues Boston, MA Tickets & More
Mar 11, 2018 Corona Theatre Montreal, Canada Tickets & More
Mar 13, 2018 Upstate Concert Hall Clifton Park, NY Tickets & More
Mar 14, 2018 The Sherman Theatre Stroudsburg, PA Tickets & More
Mar 16, 2018 The Fillmore Philadelphia, PA Tickets & More
Mar 18, 2018 Norva Theater Norfolk, VA Tickets & More
Mar 21, 2018 House Of Blues Cleveland, OH Tickets & More
Mar 22, 2018 Egyptian Room at Old National Centre Indianapolis, IN Tickets & More
Mar 24, 2018 The Pageant Saint Louis, MO Tickets & More
Apr 11, 2018 The Mill & Mine Knoxville, TN Tickets & More
Apr 12, 2018 The Mill & Mine Knoxville, TN Tickets & More
Apr 13, 2018 The Orange Peel Asheville, NC Tickets & More
Apr 19, 2018 Sloss Furnace Birmingham, AL Tickets & More
Apr 20, 2018 The Tabernacle Atlanta, GA Tickets & More


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