Judah & The Lion Bring Their Pep Talk World Tour To DC
Oh hey, you! Welcome to this small part of the interwebs. You probably clicked on this link to learn a little bit about the recent show with Judah & The Lion, so let’s get to it. Now if you’re asking yourself who is Judah and why is he hanging out with a dangerous lion, have no fear because Judah is actually Judah Akers. As for “The Lion” the band name actually stems from their Christian background and a passage from the Book of Revelation about The Lion and the Tribe of Judah.
Celebrating the release of their latest album ‘Pep Talks’ they set out on a world tour that just happened to make a stop in Washington, DC at one of the area’s newer venues known as The Anthem. It’s a venue that for most would fall into the medium-sized bucket as it features a GA standing room floor on the lower level and “Super Excellent Seats” as the venue calls them that circle around the room leveling higher across three tiers. Located on both sides of the stage are two large lit art features that resemble curtains glowing gold. The same design covers each of the balconies around the room. As 8 pm approached the floor began to fill up as the house lights and the decorative curtain lights dimmed, it was time for the first act.
Starting off the night was a local indie rock band named The Colonies. They’ve recently been named as one of DC’s “One’s to Watch” and as they took to the stage they began to get the crowd going as they started their set. Offering a variety of their own songs they got the crowd cheering and rocking with ones such as “Bound To Be Something Good”. Throughout their time they also gifted us with a few guitar solos that got the crowd going even more.
If you’re from DC and happened to have attended George Washington University you may be familiar with this group, as their very first show was in the basement of Thurston Hall. Before wrapping up their time on stage they closed out their set with a newer song titled “Tough Lovin” which offered a faster tempo and vocals that grew stronger and stronger as the song progressed.
Shortly after clearing the stage a cloth dropped from the sky shrouding the stage in mystery. As the classic rock playlist played in the background you could feel the excitement increasing as the audience continued to fill in. From the side of the stage, you could see two massive drum kits along with some light testing that was happening, all solidifying the thought that it was about to be an amazing show.
As the house lights went down and the music started the crowd lost their minds and probably their voices. The curtain was still hiding the stage but the sounds of “Pep Talk” filled the air as the lights cast their shadows upon the curtain featuring members of the band. If you’re familiar with the album you also know that “Pep Talk” is an instrumental song that transitions into “Quarter Life Crisis” much like the band did this evening. The sounds of banjos and drums along with guitars filled the air as fans began to dance and sing.
The evening brought moments of energy that stayed consistent throughout and showcased how this band truly does leave it all on the stage. From the cryo blast that shot to the ceiling during “Suit & Jacket” all the way to the dance moves and synchronized bouncing that came with “Dance With Ya,” it was a show that kept the smiles coming. A fun fact about myself… Derek. I enjoy dancing, I don’t claim to do it well but I enjoy it nonetheless. So I was very excited when Judah put on a red cowboy hat straight out of Toy Story and invited the fans to “explore the art of dancing” with him. As he then started to do purposefully awkward movements that teetered on the edge of dancing and strange stretching methods everyone was encouraged to be themselves and let loose as the band taught us all how to be “GoofBallerz”.
Soon after the dance party, Judah remained on stage alone as he held an acoustic guitar and began to strum a beat quicker and quicker before adding in a foot stomp that shook the building. All this built up to a moment in which he switched to a bit of a slower tempo for a very personal song (in which most of the songs on the new album are) titled “Queen Songs” which talks about alcoholism. Following the first verse, he was joined by fellow band members Brian on guitar and Nate on banjo. Towards the latter half of the song Judah took a moment to add a little relief to a serious song and made a quick joke about how they “put Dairy Queen in this song”. Finally surrounded by the whole band, it turned into a jamboree moment as the tambourine, harmonica and bass drum were in full effect.
Throughout the rest of the evening, it was a constant show providing smiles and hope. The band took time to address what they’ve been through in the past and to make us all “Feel like family” no matter what age or where people are at in life. Adding on that “You know your something better than anyone in this room. You can do anything you want with your life and there is no something that can ever stop you. Only you can do that.” It was a message that was very well received and great to hear coming from a band whose passion you could tell is to bring joy, happiness and hope to others. The thought of “you can do anything” then brought us to the song “Going To Mars”.
Before the night of pure energy, passion and much more was over the band wanted to go out with a bang and that they did. Following the song “Best Is Yet To Come” the band returned to the stage for their encore. All the members were now wearing dark hoodies as they began to play “Let Go.” An anthem in itself. Back to those hoodies though… Once we got into the middle of “Why Did You Run?” it shifted into an 80’s workout video in DC as the band ripped off their hoodies revealing tank tops and leotards. The crowd lost their minds as the humor and entertainment level went through the roof. A few beats later the pants came off too, showcasing some fancy booty shorts. Overall it was an incredible night and a show we will never forget. No matter what, we would never “Take It All Back”. 😉
If you happened to capture any shots of the night, feel free to tag us on social media as Shutter 16 Magazine and throw in #TwitFromThePit for the world to see.