Luther College Chips

Judah & the Lion

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Judah & the Lion performed 16 songs in Regents Center while wearing Luther apparel.

Judah & the Lion performed 16 songs in Regents Center while wearing Luther apparel.

Matthew Gleaves (‘19) | Chips

Matthew Gleaves (‘19) | Chips

Judah & the Lion performed 16 songs in Regents Center while wearing Luther apparel.

Matthew Gleaves, Staff Writer

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Judah & the Lion “took it all back” to the stage at the Student Activity Council’s spring concert on Saturday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Regents Center.

Solo artist Billy Raffoul opened for Judah & the Lion. His set consisted of slow and emotional songs, as well as upbeat pieces where he would play guitar, sing, and stomp beats on a soundboard.

Near the end of his set, Raffoul played a song dedicated to his younger sister, which was accompanied with a collective “aww” from attendees. The crowd anticipated a heartfelt song and they were not disappointed. With his low and gravelly voice, Raffoul asked the world if it is ready for his little sister. Raffoul ended his set with an upbeat piece in which he encouraged the crowd to clap along and move their feet.

Matthew Gleaves (‘19) | Chips
Billy Raffoul, the opener for Judah & the Lion, stomps a beat on his soundboard.

As Judah & the Lion’s opening track played, drummer Troy Bruner came out and added to the beat. The stage lights shined and the other members walked onstage singing and dancing along to their first song, a cover of “Booty Werk.” The members then took to their instruments and began their set.

Judah & the Lion’s set was 16 songs with an impromptu song mid-set. Their set included popular tracks like “Take It All Back 2.0,” “Suit and Jacket,” and “Going to Mars(!)” The band also peppered in several covers, most were planned and one was ad lib.

Matthew Gleaves (‘19) | Chips
Frontman Judah Akers wore a shirt with the design for next year’s football apparel.

They introduced the first cover by saying it was a song the entire band loved in fifth grade, right as the opening riff to “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers started playing. Many in the crowd sang along to the entire song. In the middle of the song, a crowd member got called onto the stage to sing along. Not on their initial set was Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin.” Again, the crowd welcomed this piece by dancing and singing along.

Even if you are not familiar with a band, Mimi Armatas (‘19) thinks just going to a show can make for a good night. She had not heard of Judah & the Lion before but enjoyed the concert.

“I thought that the performance was very energetic and the music was interesting,” Armatas said. “It seemed like it could be identified as multiple genres, like folk and pop.”

Matthew Gleaves (‘19) | Chips
Judah & the Lion member Nate Zuercher performs on the banjo.

The week leading up to the concert, Judah & the Lion released a promo video containing culturally appropriating content. The concert was on May 5, Cinco de Mayo, and in the promo video the band told concert goers to wear their sombreros. The Luther community responded negatively to the inappropriate behavior and SAC responded swiftly. SAC Concerts co-chair Hailey Mohler (‘18) addressed the comment.

“[The band was] aware of it and acknowledged it,” Mohler said. “It’s kind of an unfortunate thing that happened. I don’t want to speak for them, but I got the feeling when talking to them that they were very supportive of what we’re trying to do here, the values that Luther students have.”

During their set, Judah & the Lion spoke about loving who you are and loving the community you live in. Armatas thought the band did attempt to talk about the issues in the video.

Matthew Gleaves (‘19) | Chips
Brian Macdonald played several instruments, including electric guitar and mandolin.

“I felt like maybe the band was trying to address it with the comment, ‘Be kind to people especially on social media,’ Armatas said. “I didn’t really see that as totally addressing it. Maybe they just wanted to try to say something to cover for themselves.”

The band customized parts of their show by wearing Luther apparel and by changing the words to one of their songs to describe the Decorah community.

Matthew Gleaves (‘19) | Chips
Drummer Troy Bruner was the first member to walk on stage during the concert.

Judah & the Lion ended the set with their hit, “Take It All Back 2.0.” With the first notes of the song, the crowd erupted in excitement. The familiar song left the crowd asking for an encore, which Judah & the Lion delivered. The band met in the middle of the stage and played “Lean on Me,” leaving the concert on a hopeful note.

Attendee Noah Mayer (‘20) was a fan of Judah & the Lion before the show.

“I really like Judah [& the Lion],” Mayer said. “It was a great concert, entertaining with a good message. I really appreciated that. ‘Take It All Back 2.0’ was probably my favorite song they played. I really appreciated them being at Luther and everything around it.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Judah & the Lion”

  1. Piper Longenbohn on May 10th, 2018 3:01 pm

    They weren’t being racist, if you took it that way it’s an issue within yourselves. They are the nicest people you’ll ever get the chance to meet and you seriously fucked it up by insinuating that they are monsters. Every night they preach nothing but love, positivity, and inclusivity so no they weren’t poorly attempting to address the issue. They were speaking on who they are as people, and what they believe. Maybe next time do a little more research on who a band is and what their message is about, before you book them.

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