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Live at Stubbs, Vol.II

Matisyahu

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Album Review

For Matisyahu, lightening strikes twice in, of all places, Texas. Six years on and the American Hasidic Jewish reggae superstar returns to the Austin bar that helped launch his career for Live at Stubb's, Vol. 2, a concert album that arguably tops its predecessor. Here, his growth as an artist allows him to be more loose and confident on-stage, but a big reason this one might just be better has to be his new backing band, the Dub Trio. They’re right there in support mode whenever and wherever the singjay needs them, following all the twists and turns of elaborate songs like “Mist Rising,” or providing that simple downbeat punch on the powerful highlight “Open the Gates.” They also soar during instrumental interludes, improvising and exploring without ever running away with the material. Tracks from the overproduced album Youth sound outstanding in this stripped-down setting, and Matisyahu’s voice is as powerful as ever, but now has added grace for the softer moments. Even if the first disc was his breakthrough, this is the Stubb's fans will choose to return to more often.

Biography

Born: June 30, 1979 in Westchester, PA

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '00s, '10s

When Matisyahu emerged in 2004 with his debut album, Shake Off the Dust...Arise, his musical persona seemed a novelty to some. Here was a Hasidic Jew — dressed in a black suit with a broad-brimmed black hat worn over a yarmulke, and sporting a full, untrimmed beard — who nevertheless performed toasting raps about the glories of traditional Judaism over reggae beats in a dancehall style directly from Jamaica. Moreover, he punctuated his performances with stage diving. It may have seemed...
Full bio
Live at Stubbs, Vol.II, Matisyahu
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