PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The members of Judah & the Lion are from Tennessee, but on Friday night they were absolutely Philadelphians.
“Philadelphia has become a second home to us” declared singer Judah Akers to the quickly sold out crowd at the Fillmore in Philadelphia.
There was no denying his appeal to the packed house – wearing a Carson Wentz jersey, leading Eagles chants, even declaring his love for the greased pole.
“When I saw that, in that moment I was like, Philly is my city.”
Beyond the Super Bowl bandwagon, Akers spoke of the passion of the city and the embrace they’ve given Judah & the Lion since their earliest of days, playing dining rooms in West Philly. It felt sincere and earnest, just like the rest of the night.
“Tonight we are all family” exclaimed Akers between spastic dance moves and banjo jams. The accordion and cello also were also in full effect, making for a down-home jamboree hosted by an eclectic and energetic ringleader.
The band bounced across singles like “Take It All Back” and “Suit & Jacket”, injected with inspiration. It’s as though they were leading a positivity party. Even a cover of “Mr. Brightside” sounded fresh and all their own, as they invited their opening band and a fan from the crowd to sing along. It’s possible they had more fun playing the tune then The Killers have in the past ten years.
“None of us have it all together” explained Akers during one of his heartfelt speeches from the stage. He encouraged the kinetic crowd, telling them to “do anything they wanted in life, and there is nothing that can stop you.”
It was a warm night inside. It was self-help served with a banjo slap and a sing-a-long.
As the stage filled for a “Lean On Me” cover near the close of the show, it was easy to feel a part of this community. The gospel according to Judah & the Lion.