Matisyahu

Soundwaves Series at the Hard Rock, Sept. 15

Wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans, Matisyahu walked through the crowd and to the stage unnoticed—many fans were still unaware of his new lighter-colored hair and clean-shaven appearance since he shed his “Hasidic reggae superstar” label in 2011. This incarnation of Matisyahu (the musician has always experimented with different sonic styles) put on a good—not great—show, one that was nothing like the last three times I saw him.

This rocker seemed a bit more relaxed. At one point, he even crowd-surfed. There was a slight edginess and a faster tempo to the old songs, which took away some of their authenticity. His earlier music sang out with such conviction; that magic was not present at this show. Supported by the Dub Trio—made up of bassist Stu Brooks, guitarist/keyboardist DP Holmes and Joe Tomino on drums—the roughly hourlong set was a mix of new (“Crossroads” and “Sunshine”) and old (such as “Jerusalem”). And his beat-boxing was as electrifying as ever.

At the end, Matisyahu invited fans to climb onto the stage during “One Day.” Echoing his entrance, Matisyahu snuck off the crowded stage and back into obscurity while his fans remained taking pictures. ★★★☆☆

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It’s very easy to like Nick Hornby. As a bookseller, I was an early supporter of his novels, pressing dozens of copies of High Fidelity (1995) and About a Boy (1998) into the minds and hands of eager readers. In 2003, Hornby started writing a popular book column for The Believer magazine called “Stuff I’ve Been Reading.” Those columns filled three collections: The Polysyllabic Spree (2004), Housekeeping vs. the Dirt (2006), and Shakespeare Wrote for Money (2008). Hornby abandoned the column in 2008, but returned in 2010.

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