The Town Ballroom played host to Judah and the Lion and The Academics on a windy Thursday night in Buffalo, New York. I have never been to the venue before, and I must say, the atmosphere is unlike no other. The venue is very close and intimate, with a capacity being marked at just over a thousand people. With a very relaxed and friendly environment, it almost feels like a jazz club. We actually met a Bonaventure alum at the show too, but I didn’t catch his name. If you’re reading this, it was nice meeting you. It is impossible to go anywhere without running into a Bonnie.
Opening the show was Tyson Motsenbocker. Even though his style contrasted with the other two bands, it was a great act to start the show. When Tyson performs, it’s just him and his guitar, telling stories from his heart and singing from it too. Honestly, I would recommend giving his stuff a listen if you like acoustic music with some deep meaning.
Next up was The Academic, from Dublin, Ireland. You might have heard their song “Bear Claws.” It almost seemed like the band expected the crowd only to know that one song. However, they got the crowd involved through sing-alongs and won us over by the end of the set. They told us what to sing and got us hyped up. By the end of the set, the band really got us ready for Judah and the Lion.
Judah and the Lion is one of the most energetic bands I have ever seen live at this point in my life. Honestly, the amount of energy and intensity in which the band brings is something I’ve never felt so strongly. It’s one of those concerts that gives you such an adrenaline rush and a positive feeling; it almost makes you feel like you have to go do something with your life. They kicked off the show with “Booty Wurk,” a song originally performed by R&B artist T-Pain.
Judah and the Lion isn’t your standard four-piece band. They feature uncommon instruments like an accordion, banjo and a mandolin on top of drums and guitar. Their sound is a mix of seemingly unrelated genres: hip-hop, folk and indie. They are such a great combo of all three. Each song encapsulates one of these different genres. For instance, “Reputation” sounds more like a hip-hop song.
Along with playing their own songs, Judah and the Lion also covered The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.” During the rendition, I thought the roof was going to blow off the venue. During their song “Going to Mars,” the lead singer, Judah, went into the crowd and stood on a small section of the railing to sing a portion of the song. Later in the night, he also crowd surfed while singing. The encore featured all three bands on stage singing Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me.” Most of the crowd put their arms around each other and rocked side to side while singing along.
This show was an amazing experience. The energy was high with 100 percent of the crowd participating. There was such a positive feeling all around us. I highly recommend seeing any of the bands if you have the chance.
– Daniel Nelligan