Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Concert Review: Matisyahu

Let me preface this review by saying first and foremost tip of the cap to B104 who put together a stellar concert lineup considering the venue and location. There aren't many reasons for anyone to come to Allentown, PA, let alone for a small Arts Festival over Memorial Day Weekend. For only charging $5 admission per day or $10 for a 5 day weekend pass to have the opportunity to see Matisyahu, Charice, IYAZ, Jason Derulo, Sandlot Heroes, and Kat De Luna (free with admission).

Having seen Matisyahu previously open for 311 in Columbus, Ohio I sort of knew what to expect this time around, unlike last time where I was more intrigued by his uniqueness. Put it this way, appearance wise you don't expect someone who grew up and still practices Hasidic Judaism, wears a Kippahon stage to go with a beard and a payot. His style is sort of indescribable, you almost have to see him in concert to really understand, which is why I'm glad I was able to get some good video of him performing. If you forced me to classify him, I would say he most closely resembles a reggae artist both delivery and beat wise, but at times you could mistake him for a Hip Hop or rock artist. Add into all that, his traditional Jewish influences that are the basis for much of his melodic chanting that can be construed as Bob Marley-esque.

After aggressively winding my way through the crowd, I was able to perch next to a pole about 10 rows from the stage, elevated, standing on a chair. Great spot, real close, couldn't have asked for a better place to be inside the Cabaret tent. After a few songs I began to realize how few songs I knew by Matisyahu, which was good and bad. Bad in more of an unprepared sense, but good because it led to a lot of catching up after the concert. Long story short, I took plenty of visual notes to allow myself the ability to track down the songs after the concert.

For me, the highlight of the concert was his two and a half minute solo beatbox routine. I remembered from the first time he was in concert that he had this skill in his repertoire, but seeing for the second time made it all the more amazing. Seriously, where the hell does he hide the oxygen to allow him to create upbeat sounds out of his mouth for over two minutes? It's ridiculous, sorta like break dancing, just one of those genuine Hip Hop skills that is very seldom done well because so few people can pull it off. Check it out...
Matisyahu Beatboxing

I can't stress how rare that is to find someone who beatboxes well and can hold the beat for THAT long. I don't care if you never listen to music or Hip Hop or rock, any person who witnesses him doing this routine is left in awe. Even after questions like how did he?, is that real? sort of questions, you still have to give him dap for mixing up tempos and adding elements to his beatbox.

As the concert wound down, I was really looking forward to hearing a live version of his newest single One Day that made waves in the Hip Hop community when Akon remixed it. He did not disappoint...
Matisyahu - One Day live at May Fair

For $5 I felt like I had robbed somebody because Matisyahu puts on a very diverse and entertaining show. If you have a chance to see him in concert you will not be disappointed in your decision to go watch him. He is a testament to how unique combinations of different styles of music can be a breath of fresh air, especially live.


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