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Matisyahu - Live at Stubbs




Matisyahu changed my world- for a couple of days at least. Sometimes an album just catches you and won't let go and this is what happened with ‘Live at Stubbs,' to the point where my friends were telling me, ‘shut up about this matsyhrahoo whatever you call him-her-it.'

  

I renamed the track ‘King Without A Crown' my ‘happy song' and I played it down the phone line to friends or sat people down and made them listen, watching their expression to see if they liked it. If they didn't respond appropriately I'd pull out the novelty card, saying, ‘Hey, check out the album sleeve, he's like some Rabbi-dude who sings reggae!!'

  

Admittedly he's not actually a Rabbi but he is an orthodox Jew, his long beard, hat and glasses forming a vision seemingly paradoxical to the sound I'd fallen in love with. Matisyahu's music has many layers. Songs speed up and slow down, skip from reggae into hip hop/rock and back again, as instrumental solos fade into choruses where he sometimes sings so fast it hurts to listen.

  

I took the cd with me to work and when people came into my office I'd insist they dance while they addressed me – the speakers on my PC blasting a distortion of his sound. And most people obliged, I mean, you have to dance - you just have to. His sound is so big. It makes you long for festivals with huge crowds. And lucky for Oz he's coming out for Splendour in the Grass and a few side gigs.

  

It seems quite funny to fall in love with a live album. I would rarely buy one unless the artist was an old favourite or I'd seen them play and loved it. And I'm usually adverse to overly spiritual or preachy music but for some reason I'm not offended by his outbursts of spoken word, his lyrical vows of service to the lord and his self-professed role of conduit for messages of peace, I guess beatbox accompaniment can work wonders!

  

Matisyahu (called Mathew prior to his spiritual calling) hails from New York and fans in his hometown can join him for Shabbat and other religious services. His website promotes, ‘Stop by and tell your friends you spent Shabbat with a superstar!' The following week you can find him playing at Lollapalooza or with the Dave Mathews Band - a testimony that his appeal crosses boundaries. If the excitement of the crowd heard in the background on ‘Live at Stubbs' is anything to go by, I expect that he'd put on an amazing show for any audience.

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