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Matisyahu may look like everyone’s indie cousin now, but his sound, message and connection with the crowd are stronger than ever before.
With a new look and sound, Matisyahu is not the Hasidic reggae superstar that created his fame anymore. Nonetheless, Matisyahu showed why he is a superstar by putting on a true rock-star virtuoso performance at the Boulder Theater Monday night, bringing back his old hits and releasing innovative tracks from his new album, “Spark Seeker.”
Before Matisyahu, born Matthew Paul Perry, took the stage, the party was well underway with Fort Collins-based DubSkin, who created a reggae-rap feel that would be just one of the many different genres played at the show.
Vocalist Jamal Skinner was a fantastic entertainer, and the group behind him, although looking rather weird, threw down great dub beats accompanied by congo drums that got the crowd dancing.
Then it was time for the real show. The stage was dark and lit up from behind by an eerie backdrop of a young woman’s face with shaggy bangs that changed colors sporadically. The image is also the cover of his new album.
Matisyahu opened up his set with “Crossroads,” the first track off “Spark Seeker,“ which instantly set the tone for the rest of the show by featuring a multitude of new sounds that the artist conjured up in recent years.
Going into old tracks like “Youth,” Matisyahu showed his true colors and played to the crowd’s taste. Out of nowhere, Matisyahu would stop singing, the bass would get deeper and Matisyahu would start playing dubstep-trance music while rapping and beat-boxing at the same time.
His sound continued to change as he played more tracks from “Spark Seeker.” In his new track “Live Like a Warrior,” the bass sounded like a Katy Perry beat that drowns out every top-40 radio station. But it’s just so catchy!
In “For You,” Matisyahu sounded more like U2 or Coldplay, but no matter where the genre went throughout the show, the voice was always that same Matisyahu reggae tone.
He left the stage with a simple, “Peace, Boulder.”
The crowd started to cheer and stomp, demanding an encore. After a few minutes Matisyahu and the band were back on to shatter everyone’s expectations going into the show.
Matisyahu rocked the encore with one of the best hits of his career, ”One Day.” With incredible beat-boxing that brought the track to a new level, the artist made his encore one that everyone there would remember. He took off his jacket, pointed out his spot in the crowd and leaped out full-extension into the sea of people. As he sang, he was held up on his back and even by his shins as he floated over the crowd.
He returned to the stage where he let the crowd join him to sing the rest of “One Day.”
The underlying message from Matisyahu’s show was: Even though outer appearances can change with age and experience, the people who have touched your life will always be there on the inside.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Joseph Wirth at Joseph.email@example.com.