Judd Hoos Packs the Loud American with Loud Americans

Judd Hoos, an American rock band based in Sturgis, South Dakota, performing at the Loud American stage in Sturgis, SD on Thursday, August 12, 2021.

After being denied at Buffalo Chip yet again for access to shoot the main stage, we decided to say, “fuck it,” and ventured out into the town of Sturgis itself in search of shows to shoot since that’s what we came up here to do in the first place.

After finding a spot to park, Jade, our operations manager, messaged the drummer for Judd Hoos, a band that plays the Loud American stage every night during the Sturgis Rally. Within a few hours, we met Shane, got our access passes, and were told that the show would begin at 8pm.

I first saw Judd Hoos in Lincoln, NE when they came to play at Cappy’s a few years ago, so I was a little familiar with their sound, but it had still been a few years since I had seen them, so I was excited to see what they would do at an event as large as the Sturgis Rally.

Tyler Bills, the lead singer, was explosive with energy from the beginning of the set to the very end, and yes, was still wearing his trademark high-top red sneakers and ripped blue jeans.

“What the fuck is up Sturgis?!?” he yelled as he took the stage.

The crowd was almost as loud as the bikes in the background.

And from there they played a two-hour set, complete with guest appearances from members of the other bands who had played the stage earlier that day.

They began their set with a few of their originals, and I gotta say, these guys should be played on radio stations nationwide. From their catchy choruses to their synced up stage movements, the music they write and perform is all-around solid. Tyler is basically the embodiment of ‘Moves like Jagger.’

Andy Young (lead guitar) and Chris Hornick (bass) are also highly animated fellas when they’re on the stage, moving around, playing back to back, and do a phenomenal job of hyping up the crowd before a good breakdown.

Toward the middle of the set, most of the band members left the stage to allow Tyler to lead the crowd in an acoustic set of classic rock and country songs. It’s almost like a sing-a-long, and something Hoos fans look forward to at every show.

When the band reappeared, they brought their friends in Flannel, the previous band on the stage, for a super-band cover of “What I Got” by Sublime. After a few more covers, the crowd was really ready to PARTY. The dance floor filled up with bikers and babes ready to let loose, and Judd Hoos was there to deliver.

They then broke out into their hot single “We Were Young”. The crowd was HERE FOR IT, and by the end, almost everyone was singing along. That’s what makes Judd Hoos, Judd Hoos.

Next was my personal favorite part of the show. The guys played a mashup on guitar of several iconic rock songs, which they lovingly title “Shitpants” because I’m pretty sure they’ve made at least one person shit their pants with this medley in the past.

From there, drummer Shane Funk (yep, actual legit last name that is the most fitting of last names) took over and played a killer drum solo. Not like one of those drum solos that goes on forever and starts to lose crowd interest, though. Shane is highly animated and interacted with the crowd while playing some serious beats. Rounding out this set, they played a cover of “Like A Stone.” I overheard someone saying it was the best Chris Cornell cover they’d ever heard, and I have to agree. It takes some serious balls to cover a legendary artist, and Judd Hoos has them. Maybe it’s from their beer, Hoos Joos, a citrusy IPA available all around South Dakota. Maybe it’s the other way around. Chicken…..egg…….who knows, but it’s GOOD. It’s a local delicacy the way Dorothy Lynch dressing is to Nebraskans.

Overall, the show was a massive success. It was a success, the same way that potato salad is when it’s brought to the picknick by a woman in an old Cadillac. It was just right, hit all the right notes, and was extremely satisfying.

More concert reviews to come from Sturgis, so stay tuned!

Review written by Jess Beck & Jade Richelle.

Photos by Jess Beck, Jade Richelle, & Zel Michaels.