PHOTOS BY JAIME COLON
At first what appeared as the beginning of a long hour poetry reading in a gymnasium, ended up being a powerful performance with the use of one man’s voice with the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar.
American Hasidic Jewish reggae musician Matisyahu drew in a large crowd Tuesday at the Venue at UCF with just a few empty seats- not taking into account the 20- something people watching from the second floor.
Matisyahu came out and sat on a wooden stool sporting a dark blue long blazer, blue button down shirt, khakis, blue Nikes and a yarmulke. The lights dimmed along with the chatter from the audience, at the first note of the opening song- delivering the crowd into a near meditative state.
Matisyahu sang with whole-hearted passion- eyes closed in an emotional trance- and his voice at the envy of popular artists who struggle to sing on key. His beat boxing skills fooling anyone with no knowledge of his music to expect to see at least a three piece band on stage.
He was accompanied by David Holmes on acoustic guitar who has performed and recorded with a diverse collection of artists such as Lady Gaga, Snoop Dog and Mike Patton
The audience broke silence as they clapped and sang along with the chorus of the song “One Day” right before Matisyahu opened up the floor to the audience to ask him questions. A surprising gesture, considering the artist requested no flash photography and any pictures taken by UCF press were to be either taken from the far left of the stage or the far right of the stage- avoiding any direct eye contact with the artist and the lens.
Despite his picture taking requests, Matisyahu had a humble demeanor answering questions and receiving “you’re hot” compliments from the ladies. When asked about other entertainers and how they could keep a positive message like he has portrayed, Matisyahu answered with sole honesty, “By not screwing things up and saying stupid shit”.
The performer also shared his thoughts on the legalization of marijuana after being asked where he stands on the issue and compared it to alcohol use.
“You don’t do really dumb things except watch cartoons.”
Matisyahu went on to state “I love weed so much,” referring to how it made him addicted and that being the reason he does not smoke anymore.
At the request of fans, Matisyahu closed questions with the song “King Without a Crown”- any new listeners can recognize it from MTV playing the music video in 2005.
Matisyahu went on to perform a few more songs, one being the song “Jerusalem” from the same album as “King Without a Crown,” Youth. The emotion of his performance through this song drew the crowd back into silence as if absorbing every word and any interruptions would have disrupted its significance.
Matisyahu delivered a performance that differs from other artist- one voice performing as a full band and a positive message that can be enjoyed whether one has religious beliefs or not. The aesthetics of his performance were truly poetic and entrancing.
TO SEE MORE PICTURES FROM THE CONCERT, CHECK OUT THE NEXT PAGE.