Written by Erica Andreozzi
I remember leaving The Chapel (small venue in SF) in AWE when I first saw Judah & the Lion there over a year ago. To my PLEASANT SURPRISE, these Nashville natives were able to deliver their SUPERB STAGE PRESENCE and RELENTLESS ENERGY to a much larger venue, BottleRock Napa main ‘Jam Cellars’ stage. I was once again blown away by their unique fusion of folk and hip-hop (“Folk Hop n Roll”) and their hilarious, coordinated dance routines (even a booty dance!) to some of their songs. Flying banjos and mandolins, twirling accordions, broken drums sticks, are just a few of the flashbacks that I have, and I am still amazed by the passion and charisma of the frontman, Judah Akers, who was running all over stage and into/onto the crowd (yes, there was a crowd surf!). The best part is that you really DIDN’T NEED to know any of their songs prior, for I guarantee you’d find yourself picking up the lyrics and quickly chiming in on the chorus as if if was your LIFE ANTHEM. Highlights for me were ‘Kicking Da Leaves,’ ‘Hold On,’ ‘Going to Mars,’ ‘Better Man,’ a cover of The Killers ‘s ‘Mr. Brightside’ (HELL YES) and the EPIC ENCORE of ‘Take it all back,’ which is STILL A BLUR and pretty much felt like an EXORCISM of negative energy. I definitely left that set “thinking I could do anything I want,” which was the ONE and ONLY request that Judah asked of the audience. Still buzzing from that wildly creative, genre bending experience!