At 29 years of age, Matthew Paul Miller may seem like an average New Yorker. Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Mr. Miller was raised as a Reconstructionist Jew. At 16, he took a trip to Israel to take part in an educational program designed to offer students an in-depth look at the Jewish faith. This experience so changed Matthew's life that he adopted Orthodox Judaism.
This Hasidic Jew is now known as Matisyahu
. The appearance of traditional clothing is a striking contrast to his music, which blends elements of reggae and hip-hop. In 2006, Billboard named Matisyahu its Top Reggae Artist.
The Variety Playhouse in Atlanta was definitely in agreement with Billboard. A packed house greeted Matisyahu and he was on that night. His voice was clear and strong and I'm sure Bob Marley
was listening with a smile.
Matisyahu kicked off his set with the calming and beautiful "Sea To Sea." It seemed that the Matisyahu fan club was in the house in full-force. About five songs in, he performed "Smash Lies," a rocking selection from the new "Shattered" EP. It sounds like Matisyahu is evolving a bit, but still possessing that signature sound. The singer ended the evening with the popular "King Without A Crown," which was probably the most popular song of the night.
As far as the reggae sound remains popular, Matisyahu is one of the top talents carrying that torch. He is a talented singer with an exceptional band. He should be around for quite some time.
Ft. Lauderdale's The Heavy Pets
opened the show with a mix of reggae, jazz-fusion, and a handful of other genres. They got the crowd very warmed up for the headliner. Tight musicianship and an overall fun attitude by the band pulled the crowd in.
Chicago's own Future Rock was next, bringing some futurist tunes. The three-piece delved deep into some very interesting sounds. Known to cover Aphex Twin's tunes in the past, each member brings his own personality to this project. Whether one tries to label Future Rock electronica, progressive house, or "other," they are definitely an original creation.
Matisyahu Set list
1. Sea To Sea
2. Unique Is My Dove
3. Time Of Your Song
4. Ancient Lullaby
5. Smash Lies
6. Dispatch The Troops
7. Rastaman Chant
9. Beat Box
10. Close My Eyes
13. Tzama L'Chol Nafshi (Psalm 63:2-3)
14. Got No Water
16. Nelson Zands Jam
17. King Without A Crown
(Thanks to matisyahuworld.com
for the set list.)
Story by Kevin Triebsch
Starpulse contributing writer