Support Local Journalism. Donate to Cleveland Scene.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Judah & the Lion Delivers a Message of Hope at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica

Concert Review

Posted By on Sun, Aug 18, 2019 at 8:07 AM

click to enlarge SAMANTHA FRYBERGER
  • Samantha Fryberger
Toward the end of last night’s nearly two-hour concert at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, Judah & the Lion front man Judah Akers talked about the highly personal nature of the indie rock band’s latest album, Pep Talks. “The past five years have been some of the loneliest years for me,” he said, adding that it felt like his family was falling apart during that time period. But he encouraged fans to weather whatever storm might come their way. “True hope is something we have to choose,” he added.

The band’s performance mirrored those sentiments as the group delivered an energetic set that overflowed with positivity.

You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here.

It all started with the band performing Pep Talks’ title track while behind a white screen. Band members appeared as silhouettes at this point, and given that his personality drives the band, Akers’ silhouette appropriately stood taller than the shadows of mandolin player Brian Macdonald and banjo player Nate Zuercher.

After the screen dropped to the floor’s stage, Akers began running the length of the stage as the band played self-help obsessed tunes such as “Quarter-Life Crisis,” “Over My Head” and “I’m OK.” Akers effectively alternated between rapping, singing and screaming.

Akers did his best to sound snotty as the band launched into a cover of Blink-182’s “All the Small Things,” and he sat on a stool to start the tender ballad “Queen Songs” without the accompaniment of his band. The group matriculated onto stage as the song went on, and Akers closed the tune by singing a few riffs of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhasody.”

The group then cranked up the volume (the trio is touring with an additional bassist and two hard-hitting percussionists who help bring the noise) for “Don’t Mess with My Mama,” a dubstep-like song that found the band’s bassist screaming through a megaphone. Akers introduced “Going to Mars” with some advice. “You can do whatever you want,” he told fans. "Live your best life.” He paced the stage manically as he turned the song into a righteous sing-along. He rapped over a backing track on the jittery “Joyboy” and then let the percussion section drive “Dance With Ya” before turning back to the piano for a closing melody that included “Pictures,” “Back’s Against the Wall” and “The Best Is Yet to Come.”

For the encore, band members changed into blue jumpsuits. They played the punk-y “Sportz” and then launched into a rousing cover of the Gary Glitter tune “Rock and Roll (Part 2).” The encore also included a spot-on rendition of their latest single, “Why Did You Run?,” a tune that rather explicitly addresses how Akers feels about his parents’ divorce, one of the things that inspired the emotionally charged songs on Pep Talks.

A Swedish-American indie pop duo consisting of singer Shpresa Lleshaj and singer-guitarist Cole Randall, Flora Cash opened the show with a 40-minute set of pretty generic techno-pop tunes that only became engaging at the end when the band delivered the infectious “You’re Somebody Else,” a song that mixed soulful vocals with gentle guitars and slowly built in tempo.

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

Tags: , , ,

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, Scene Magazine has been keeping Cleveland informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources, especially as we all deal with the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic. Almost everything Scene is about -- our stories, our events, our advertisers -- comes down to getting together. With events on hold, and no print distribution for the foreseeable future, every little bit helps.

A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to Scene. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation