Matisyahu @ Mississippi Nights

Matisyahu | Mississippi Nights (St. Louis, MO) | June 15, 2005 |

Matisyahu is known to many and aptly described as the “reggae rapping rabbi”. The man takes the stage dressed as a rabbi, hair style included. His live show draws a good-sized and diverse crowd, from young teenaged jewish girls calling out support to the band in yiddish to 20 somethings who heard they must catch this unique entertainer to hard-core reggae fans looking for inspiration. Whatever the reason for coming out to see the show, few, if any, were disappointed when they left. Matisyahu Miller (formerly Matthew Miller) finds a way to blend his religious beliefs with music in a way that is not overtly preachy. If anything, his comments about redemption, tolerance, and love are inspiring. The hip-hop reggae feel of his music fits well with the messages contained within the songs.

The talented Matisyahu is entertaining to watch and listen to. One of the perks is his beat-boxing, which is impressive. He even duals with the drummer in originality of tune at points during the set. Another bonus is his quasi-chanting, to which his voice is especially suited. The echo and haunting quality which results is especially fitting to not only the message but the manner in which it is delivered, partly in Yiddish and partly in Hebrew.

A talented drummer, guitarist, and bass player join Matisyahu on stage and add to the complexity of the set. Each takes a turn highlighting their skills in instrumental solos throughout the night. The crowd welcomes their abilities as well as the instances where it is just Matisyahu on stage, with only his voice as the instrument. Matisyahu satisfied the crowd with his set list which included an encore. Some favorites of the night included, “King Without a Crown” and “Candle.”

— Jennifer F.