Search I-Reggaenation

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Matisyahu rocks the house in Kailua-Kona

By Hadley Catalano

Performing before sold out crowds across the Hawaiian Islands, Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu left a lasting impression on Big Islanders in his Monday, March 1 concert.

Fans gathered three hours early outside Rockstarz in Kailua-Kona's old industrial area waiting to see if there were any unsold tickets, but the sold-out crowd soon had the 300-person venue teaming to its full capacity.

Vying for a good standing spot in the intimate backroom performance space, the crowd's upbeat energy was met around 10 p.m. with the high intensity vigor and punk rock/reggae flared tempo of the opening band, The Throwdowns.

Fronted by Erin Smith and backed by guitarist Ola Shaw, bassist Kimo Clark and percussionist Ian Hollingsworth, the dynamic indie-rock, pop band from Maui delivered a punk-rock paced performance, dancing around the stage and getting the crowd pumped for the headlining event.

Known for his energetic performances, Matisyahu caught the beat back up to speed after the short break between performances. The performer bounded across the small stage, dancing rhythmically around to the instrumentals of his opening track. Filling the space with his tall over six-foot frame, he appeared dressed in long corduroy pants, a black tee shirt, jacket and baseball cap and his iconic full bread and Talit prayer shawl.

He sailed smoothly into his opening, sounding off with repeated freestyle chants of "ey yo yo yo yo"- his trademark musical signature - to the cheers of the crowd before addressing the audience, "hey Kona, how we doing? I'm glad to be here, glad to make it to the Big Island."

He then surged into "Time of your Song," of his 2006 album "Youth" followed by "Exaltation" of his first LP "Shake off the Dust...Arise." Delivering his pious lyrics with bravado, poise and seamless flow, the hip-hop reggae vocalist/beatboxer was joined by his Brooklyn, New York based band mates Dub Trio - D.P. Holmes on guitar and keyboards, Stu Brooks on bass and Joe Tomino on drums.

Matis kept us his captivating on stage presence throughout the show, feeling the flow of his methodical riffs like "Motivate" and "Indestructible" by taking the instrumental refrain to relocate himself on top of the large stacked speakers at the back of the stage, singing and grooving to the music from his lofty perch.

After a 10-minute break during the later half of his nearly two hour show, Matis got the crowd singing along as he opened the second set with Bob Marley's "Running Away" cover before rapping his way into his popular song "Youth" of the album by the same name. The energy of the diverse crowd surged as Matis launched into his most popular songs "King Without A Crown" and "Chop 'Em Down" before launching himself into the front rows of fans, crowd surfing twice through the hit songs (roughly two years ago Matis switched from the Lubuvitch sect of Hasidic Judaism to Karlin, allowing him more freedom to interaction with female fans in the crowd, he was scrutinized earlier for not shaking hands with a female reporter because of his faith).

The religious hip-hop/reggae artist closed the show with his newest global sensation "One Day," of his latest release "Light." He infused the song with impromptu beatboxing and chanting to the catchy bass and drumbeat and the ubiquitous electronic sound of the keyboards and guitar. The crowd cheered and called afte
r him with their cries of "hana hou!" as Matis left the stage off to his next shows in New York City and Australia.


Post a Comment