Matisyahu has made quite a remarkable journey from "Dead-Head," Birkenstock-wearing hippie teen to Jewish reggae artist.
Born Mathew Miller on June 30, 1979, in West Chester, Pa., Matisyahu ventured to Israel as a high school dropout in hopes of feeding his spiritual curiosity. The transition back to Colorado (where his family now lives) was rough, as he bounced in and out of the classroom studying music and Judaism. Hot in the pursuit of both, he attended a weekly open mic session and delved deep into reggae, hip-hop and religion. Before becoming the man he is today, Matisyahu wrote a play, "Echad," that would become almost a guide for future happenings in his own life.
So did Matisyahu wear the appropriate attire an enlightened Hasadic Jew would wear? The answer is yes. Matisyahu rolled into Buffalo last Wednesday to play a soldout concert at Showplace Theatre with his yarmulke intact.
Pigeon John opened the show to a lukewarm response. After Pigeon John felt how truly cold Buffalo can be, Matisyahu entered, greeted by a deafening roar.
Lights, camera, enlightenment?
While most of his songs are of his deep-rooted faith in Judiasm, there is a lesson to be learned for all, or so his fans claim. "Torah food for my brain/let it rain down 'til I drown/king without a crown." I for one couldn't understand a word he was saying, but with such a soothing voice and trippy lights, one couldn't help but have a great time.
Playing a considerable selection off his latest album "Live At Stubb's," Matisyahu captivated a full house right up until the moment everyone was waiting for, "Beat Box." Now, I know what you're saying, "A Jewish reggae artist who can beat box? This is too good to be true." It is a leap of faith but trust me, it's true and it's mind-blowing.
Matisyahu also packs a punch with an outstanding lineup of instrumentalists. And credit must be paid to the musicians who manage to keep up: Jonah David on drums, Aaron Dugan on guitar and Josh Werner on bass.
The night closed with the traditional lighting of the Menorah, fitting as it shone upon this young, upcoming and sure-to-be successful artist.
Matisyahu's next album "Youth" willbe in stores March 7.
You might like Matisyahu if you like: Bob Marley, Gorrilaz, Sublime.
Key tracks: "Beat Box," "Sea to Sea"
Rachel Eagan is a senior at Frontier High School.