Story and Photos: Haley Mullenix
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Now back to the story....
Last night (9/8) at the historic Uptown Theater in downtown Kansas City Judah & The Lion kicked off their “Happy Again” tour in support of their latest release Revival.
About a week before the tour the band made an Instagram post proclaiming their “Official Tour Rules”. The rules stated that if you wear green you’ll get a free sticker and if you dye your hair green you’ll get a free merch item!
As I walked past the line to the box office I saw many fans who took these rules seriously!
Making my way into the photo pit for the first act I was really blown away by Small Pools. This indie pop quartet from Los Angeles is made up of Sean Scanlon on vocals, Mike Kamerman on guitar, Beau Kurher on drums, and Daniel Kerrigan on bass.
Small Pools warmed up the crowd with their infectious energy, covering songs like “Creep” by Radiohead and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears.
As the set came to a close Sean went on to tell a story about their band name. When they were starting out he said they’d search their name and see nothing but articles on why killer whales shouldn't be kept in small pools. This inspired them to write a song called “Killer Whales” and as the song started a giant blow up orca was thrown into the crowd! Once the song ended the whale made its way out of the pit and Small Pools were saying their goodbyes.
Now the crowd began filling into every crevice of the theater. The floor and the upstairs balcony became a sea of green shirts.
The band’s crew set up drums and keys on high risers that overlooked each side of the stage with a staircase in the middle. Speakers of neon green sat in front of them and a microphone wrapped in green was set in its stand.
I’ve listened to Judah & The Lion since high school, so when the band came out and front man Judah Akers was all smiles I couldn’t help but smile too as I captured the moment.
One thing about Judah & The Lion is they try to be “as interactive and annoying as possible” as Judah puts it. Asking the crowd who among them was a good dancer, or at least a confident one Judah encouraged the crowd to make a circle around this person, chanting their name before inviting the crowd to join in!
The band continued the festivities with Brian Mcdonald switching between the mandolin and banjo and touring drummer Garrett Tyler keeping the time.
Taking a moment, Judah got choked up as he sang their song “Beautiful Anyway”, telling the crowd how proud of them he was that they all made it to the show. He went on to say how beautiful it was that we all get to share such fleeting moments together. “This moment feels beautiful,” he continued “It feels sacred to me.”
Leaving the stage for a moment, a thunderous booming played through the speakers. Doing a full 180 the band came out performing a mashup of covers including “Higher” by Creed and “Snap Yo Fingers” by Lil Jon!
Adorned with a sparkly motorcycle helmet, Judah kick started the next song “Take it All Back” before stage diving into the crowd! The crowd jumped and hollered as they moved him along all while he continued to sing. Soon Judah was making his way back to the stage and the band was saying goodnight.
I left the show last night in such a great mood, I felt like I was buzzing! I had never seen a band be so interactive with their audience. It was really telling of the band's character and how much they love what they do. I felt so lucky to see Judah & the Lion kick off their first night of tour and am so happy they chose to do it in Kansas City.
The next two months they’ll be playing all over the country so be sure to get your tickets!
Sept 9 @ Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO^
Sept 10 @ Superbloom Music Festival in Salt Lake City, UT^
Sept 12 @ Showbox SoDo in Seattle, WA^
Sept 13 @ McMenamins Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR^
Sept 15 @ The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA^
Sept 16 @ The Belasco in Los Angeles, CA^
Sept 17 @ The Van Buren in Phoenix, AZ^
Sept 20 @ House of Blues in Dallas, TX^
Sept 21 @ Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, TX^
Sept 23 @ Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, OK^
Sept 24 @ The Factory in Chesterfield, MO^
Oct. 4 @ Avondale Brewing Co. in Birmingham, AL+
Oct 5 @ Old Forester's Paristown Hall in Louisville, KY+
Oct 7 @ Coca-Cola Roxy in Atlanta, GA+
Oct 8 @ The Ritz in Raleigh, NC+
Oct 9 @ The Fillmore in Charlotte, NC+
Oct 11 @ Webster Hall in New York, NY+
Oct 13 @ The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD+
Oct 14 @ House of Blues in Boston, MA
Oct 15 @ Club XL Live in Harrisburg, PA+
Oct 16 @ The Fillmore in Philadelphia, PA+
Oct 18 @ House of Blues in Cleveland, OH+
Oct 20 @ Egyptian Room at Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN+
Oct 21 @ The Riviera Theater in Chicago, IL+
Oct 22 @ First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN+
Nov. 18-20 @ Wonderfront Festival in San Diego, CA
+The National Parks
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Judah & The Lion
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