Since the release of his highly acclaimed 2005 album, Live at Stubb’s, Matisyahu has grown as a singer, songwriter, artist and beat box virtuoso. So when Matisyahu returned to Austin, Texas last August it was somewhat of a homecoming. Stubb’s [Volume I] was a defining album that separated critics and identified his voice in a music community that, at the time, did not have a Hasidic reggae rapper-singer-songwriter present. In the process of writing new material during his Light excursion around the world, Matisyahu came back to the same stage at Stubb’s five and half years removed from the first live album. Now, three studio records deep in his career, Matisyahu has brought forth Live at Stubb’s: Volume II. The CD/DVD combo uniquely displays his evolution in music both visually and spiritually through the live footage that is captured and his catalog of broad material.
The opening on the DVD is connective as it shows Matisyahu walking down the backstage corridor with one of his sons, symbolic of the journey he continues to travel on. Throughout “Tzama L’Cha Nafshi” you can hear a child’s energetic voice as the spoken verses echo through the speakers. With Dub Trio locking in on the vibe on stage, Matisyahu enters and kicks it into gear with “Time of Your Song” followed shortly after with “Jerusalem” and “Youth.” Dub Trio is another example of the rearrangement that Matisyahu has recently implemented. A product of Brooklyn, Dub Trio is currently his new backing band that he actually came across back in 2005 while doing Stubb’s: Volume I.
“One Day” seemed to elevate Matisyahu as a symbol and advocate of peace on a global scale. The song was featured as one of the anthems for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games and that essence has remained integral in how Matisyahu’s image has been reflected.
It takes just seconds for fans to react to the opening guitar riff to “King Without a Crown.” If you listen to just the audio of this live version you can distinctly tell when Matis is about to lift off into a stage dive. It’s an awesome element of his live show that is driven by the energy of the crowd and really physically expresses that artist-audience connection. Here’s a hint: listen for the snare roll cue followed by the roar of the crowd.
On Stubb’s: Volume II you will hear a heavier version of “Indestructible,” a dope beat box section that features an extended version on the CD and a variety of material from his three studio albums: Shake Off the Dust…Arise, Youth, and Light. Matis does feature some new material including “Open the Gates,” which will most likely be featured on the album that he is currently writing songs for.
It is true that Stubb’s has a definitive meaning for fans of Matisyahu. It means something more than just a venue in Austin, Texas, and with the release of Stubb’s: Volume II it now represents a progression. Stubb’s represented an entry into the light in 2005, and now in 2011, it represents a continued evolution.