“Strip Away the Layers and Reveal Your Soul”

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Matisyahu has recently gained national attention by shaving his beard off. This may seem like a no-big-deal moment, but if you know who Matisyahu is and what he represents, this was a career-changing decision.

Photos by Samantha Doucette

Last Tuesday night, Matisyahu pleased audiences with a spectacular show in Gainesville. While I’ve expanded my musical taste broadly in electronic music, it is always refreshing and nice to go see an actual live performance with live instruments and live vocals.

This was my first time seeing Matisyahu and he surpassed all expectations I had. I recall him going on later than planned. Fans waited anxiously as 10, 15, 20 minutes passed by. Photographers scattered throughout the front rows of the crowd adjusted their settings to what they thought would be just right.

Finally, the moment we had been waiting for. The band members walked onto the stage first and played a long intro before the main act appeared before us. When he did come out, Matisyahu was greeted with a warm and welcoming applause and cheers while he hid behind his New York Giants baseball cap and dark sunglasses. 
 
He started out with some songs off his recent album, Spark Seeker, that was released in July. He smoothly glided across the stage with his moonwalk and cohesive dance moves as he sung “Sunshine.”
 
I love how Matisyahu recognizes that his new and old fans want to hear what he is known for: his beatboxing, rapping skills and his classic songs. However, Matisyahu does a phenomenal job of combining old with new, knowing exactly what to play that will be just right for the crowd.

A little over halfway through the show, Matisyahu brought out a friend from college to play live clarinet, enhancing the instrumentals. They proceeded to play a song that barely had any vocals and focused more on the sweet sounds of the clarinet, guitar, drums and bass. 

The end of the show was filled with tracks that the audience knew. Song after song after song, the crowd grew more and more engaged with the music. Before what was supposed to be one of his last songs, Matisyahu told the crowd a story. He said that the first time he was ever dropped while he was crowd surfing was during a show in Gainesville. He learned that you need to make eye contact with the people you’re going to be jumping on top of. Should we try it again? The audience exploded with screams. 
 

The song started and after the first chorus, he took a running start and launched himself into the crowd. For about half of the song, he graciously glided across a sea of hands, floating to each corner of the audience that would support him. 

Matisyahu finished the song, said thank you and walked off the stage, while the band did a long outro after he left, like in the beginning. However, this time, Matisyahu perched himself atop of a sectioned-off part of the stage and watched over the audience. When he came out again, he was greeted with excited fans. He, then, pointed to someone, made the eye contact and jumped into the crowd again. 

This time the show was really over, that is, until the crowd went into a chant of “Encore.” After a couple of minutes, the band walked back onto the stage, followed by Matisyahu. Probably one of his most famous songs that I am sure he is tired of playing, “One Day” came over the speakers.
 
One by one, Matisyahu pulled up members of the crowd on stage until it was full of a variety of different people. He walked onto a bar that lined the side of the stage and let his fans surround him. Some girl had written something on her iPhone and handed it to him, creating a smile to spread across his face. 
 

Overall, it was an experience I’m glad I didn’t pass up. I went to this show by myself, ran into only a couple of friends and still walked away fulfilled with what I had just saw. If you’ve seen Matisyahu countless times or if this was your first experience, it is well worth your money to see this exceptional performer.

via Bionic Beatlab

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