Mat Kearney “Just Kids Tour” – A Show Review

Judah and the Lion (aka Taylor’s new favorite band) were the first to grace the stage on March 31st. The band members all sang and had instruments you typically don’t see in live shows like mandolins and accordions. They came out exuding energy and started their party off right with their song “Kickin’ Da Leaves.” Their music is self described as “folk-hop” and they constantly encouraged people to dance or bump and grind to their folky/bluegrassy tunes. Their multiple harmonies were amazing, similar to the style used by folk-rock band Mumford & Sons. Judah & the Lion sang a song called “Twenty-Somethings” which really spoke to me with lyrics like “We don’t know where we’re going but we’re on the run, we don’t know where the road ends but we’re having fun.

Running scared, running free, full of light, got no money.” During that song, they busted out a medley of classic rap songs like “Ignition” and “Snap Yo Fingers” and danced the Carleton. It was glorious.

They did a good job of engaging the audience, getting them to finally stand for their finale and getting them to clap along to the music throughout their set. I was very impressed by lead singer Will Anderson’s performance, though sometimes the band overpowered him, seeming to be louder than his microphone. The stage lighting looked great, but at times would be blindingly bright and would be a distraction to the music. He would occasionally play the piano for their slower, yet popular songs including “She is Love” and “Kiss You Slowly.” This was my second time seeing Parachute open for a performance, and think that their music is better suited to play in a smaller venue, such as Music Farm. I still enjoyed their set, but Judah & the Lion definitely stole the show as far as openers go.

Also the twelve year-old girls next to us were dancing like the awkward girl from the “Friday” music video, so that was fun.

friday gif

As soon as Mat Kearney entered the stage, everyone in the audience stood up, singing and dancing along to his opening song, “Heartbreak Dreamer” off of his newest album, “Just Kids,” which was released in February. His voice is like a soulful Chris Martin but less british and a little deeper. He showed off a little bit of his rapping too, doing a freestyle about South Carolina. His music was a mixture of pop, rock, and hip-hop which proved to be very captivating. The music also held a trance-like quality that went well with the sick nasty lights that surrounded Mat and the other band members. The lights danced in time to the music and it was a really awesome addition to his staging. At one point in the show, Mat climbed up on the piano to hold a disco ball up to the lights, which made them look even cooler and went in time with the music.

In the middle of his set, he brought out opener Judah & The Lion-surprise, we are mentioning them again-to perform a bluegrassy, Americana cover of “Uptown Funk.” It was such a fun surprise. I didn’t know I could love that song more than I did before the show! The crowd sang and danced along, clearly knowing all the words to the popular (but still very awesome) song.

Overall, Mat had great chemistry with his bandmates which helped keep the energy high, and clearly had fun performing with Judah & The Lion. I enjoyed seeing all of the bands, but if Judah comes back to Charleston, they are the first band I want to see again!

Isabel Sandoval and Taylor Yale

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