Jimmy Eat World (RCA Records):
As fans trickled in moments before Jimmy Eat World took the stage, heart pounding drum beats could be felt throughout the Mattress Firm Arena in San Diego. Opening up with "Sure and Certain", the second track off of their 9th studio album from RCA Records entitled "Integrity Blues" the fans began to cheer for the 24 year veteran rock group out of Mesa, Arizona. Jim Adkins' (vocalist and lead guitarist) belted the album's first single with the energy you'd expect from a band that was just starting out! They were excited and still very humbled to be playing under the flickering street lights and fogmachines that make sold out shows worth it.
They played "Pass the Baby", no not literally, from "Integrity Blues" which was a somewhat darker sounding song with lyrics in the chorus like
You pass the baby here
No, they won't shoot you pass the baby here
Pass the baby here
No, they won't shoot you pass the baby here"
Slightly different from their normal pop-alt-rock sound. When they played their acoustic version of "Hear You Me" there was a couple holding each other tightly and reminiscing on how the song was one they dedicated to their brother when he passed because it was his favorite song.
"May angels lead you in
Hear you me my friends
On sleepless roads, the sleepless go
May angels lead you in" (chorus from Hear You Me off the Bleed American album)
The night came to a close with the song that made them famous, "The Middle" and as the anthem of many a 90s high-schooler echoed across the night's sky the crowd went back in time to when alt-rock didn't take itself so serious and was just fun. Everyone danced wildly and belted every word right along with Jimmy and his World eaters.
Judah & the Lion (Cletus the Van / Caroline):
"IS THAT A BANJO? Banjos aren't rock n roll! There's no way that mandolin is gonna get the people out of their seats!" These thoughts ran through my head as I sat through the opening seconds of Judah and the Lion, a band out ofNashville, Tennessee tune up at Mattress Firm Arena in San Diego, CA. Well let me assure you I was WRONG! Two minutes in and the fans that had shown up "early" for the show where jamming like these guys where the headliners!
High energy would be an understatement, these guys were borderline ELECTRIFYING as they moved back and forth across the stage jumping all over as they covered T-pain's "Booty Wurk" .Yup, imagine that on a banjo! During the last song, determined not to let the lawn seats go unnoticed the lead singer sprinted to the top of the arena to just say hi as the rest of the band had a their own dance party on stage. High fives, hand shakes and photo ops a plenty as he made his way back to the stage.
Judah and the Lion skillfully mashed up rock, club rap, and throwbacks to make their 35 minute set, one to be remembered. Look for their album "Folk, Hop N Roll Deluxe" from www.judahandthelion.com!
Oh and just in case you were wondering...BANJOS ARE DEFINITELY ROCK AND ROLL!!