When you think Matisyahu, a Hasidic reggae star singing to an overall melodic tone comes to mind. If he's not beat boxing, this Chabadnik who never misses shul, is singing an "ancient lullaby" that would put a grizzly to sleep.
But at Monday's show at The Depot, Matis showed fans who have been with him for a while a different side, shedding that image and giving his music more edge. If you've been following him, this shouldn't come as a shock since he shaved last year.
For many fans, particularly those who picked up his new album, Spark Seeker, it was embracing. Others who are still on Youth were more surprised. Some I spotted at the show even commenting on the change in hushed tones and slowly backed out.
Originally scheduled for the Rail Event Center, the show was moved to The Depot.
Fans didn't mind climbing a few stairwells to grab a drink and watch the show at one of the best venues SLC is lucky to have. It was a younger crowd and all-ages show. There were a few beards and yamakas, but most took a cue from The Dirty Heads singer "Dirty J." and went with tank tops and beanies.
HB Surround Sound
This five-piece punk/rockabilly band from Huntington Beach is one of the best openers I've seen in a while. The band was reminiscent of the days when the Warped Tour was punk and channeled bands like Tiger Army, Rancid and Sublime.
With suspenders, guitar solos, definite stage presence and a potential to get as big as the bands they opened for, they also paid tribute to Pink Floyd with a cover. Adding to that presence, one of the band members suddenly started bleeding above his left eye during the show. Going to stop to clean up your blood? Hell no, this is punk rock.
On the band's Facebook wall, they wrote "We can't wait to come back and bleed all over your stage again." And when they come back, I'd definitely recommend seeing them.
The songs California, Get Your Dance On and Top of the World were highlights, but for a song that's really indicative of their live show, check out Breakdown.
Watch the music video here:
The Dirty Heads
During The Dirty Heads performance, I overheard one fan commenting to another, "The Dirty Heads are f***ing sick, dude; I've never seen them before." My sentiments exactly. I had never seen the band live before and loved them.
Before the band came to the stage, "Dirty Heads" chants filled the venue and when they came to the stage, their cool, chilled out vibe was refreshing. Five guys, and such an interesting mix, too.
The band dedicated the song Neighborhood to SLC fans and urged the crowd to sing the lyrics since they were partying hard the night prior and Dirty J. might not sound like he should. But he did. During their song Stand Tall, a bunch of the tougher looking guys in the crowd started to sway and eventually the band had the whole crowd moving.
You can tell The Dirty Heads have a lot of fun doing what they do, which almost always translates to the crowd having a good time as well when it's a good band.
The set list was also a nice blend and songs transitioned well into one another, from Dustin "Duddy B." Bushnell's rap attack in Mongo Push to the melodic Cabin By the Sea.
Percussionist Jon Olazabal and drummer Matt Ochoa left and impression and bassist David Foral shook the entire venue. The band also praised the Beastie Boys, including the late MCA, during their song Believe and followed it with their hit Lay Me Down.
Matthew "Matisyahu" Miller and his band played for roughly 45 minutes, but like I said before, it's not the Matisyahu you remember from the 311 show at USANA Amphitheater years back.
He's still not playing on Friday nights, but he has shaved the beard and was rocking shades and a flannel shirt at the show on Monday night. The music has changed too, as his voice is more often distorted and more experimental elements are thrown in than there were in 2006. Matis also had quite the entrance, which was a beautiful light show leading into his song Crossroads.
Those older songs that he did perform felt more like remixes, including a more rocked out version of Time of Your Song, which I remember being much more melody than rock.
I didn't mind the change, but it did turn some fans off. If you're planning on seeing Matisyahu on another stop of his tour, keep in mind that the music isn't as soft and sweet—unless you're a newer fan or have been following him very closely.
Matis' band was spectacular, and included Dub Trio which features Joe Tomino on drums. The trio from Brooklyn has also supported Mike Patton and Battle of Mice in the past and is definitely worth seeing on stage—especially for Tomino. The crowd also heard some awesome work on the guitar throughout the show.
At times, it felt like watching more of a jam band with, of course, reggae, rap and electronic elements thrown in.
The crowd really started getting into it during the song Warrior and later during Lord Raise Me up. Lighter, more melodic, songs were Sea to Shining Sea and his encore performance, One Day.
He never did play his hit Jerusalem, but during the encore, fans filled the stage to sing with the band. From the ground, Matisyahu and band members weren't seen because of the crowd on stage.