Have you ever gone to a concert of one of your favorite artists, only to realize that the music isn't nearly as good live as it is on a CD?
Matisyahu's new album, Live at Stubb's: Volume II--recorded at the famous Stubb's BBQ in Austin, Texas--is the perfect marriage of recorded and live music from the Jewish reggae/hip-hop artist. The instrumentation takes center stage during long, jam session-esque interludes and Matisyahu's voice shines through his unrestricted range and genre-blending delivery.
On "Two Child One Drop," he raps an impressive verse and then effortlessly transitions into a bass-heavy reggae chorus. However, Matisyahu's genres aren't limited to reggae and hip hop. On the song "I Will Be Light," Matisyahu slows the show down with a vocal performance that would have Jason Mraz considering retirement. It is Matisyahu's ability to transition between styles, musical genres and even languages that make him a needle in today's musical haystack, in which so much sounds the same. His observations on the ills of the world also provide a much-needed breath of fresh air from the commercialized subject matter of mainstream music.
Live at Stubb's: Volume II reveals not only a passionate Matisyahu and his flawless band, but also captures the atmosphere of a live concert, from the sounds of the audience to Matisyahu's interactions with the crowd, putting the listener in the front row. The only things missing from this live performance are the overpriced beers and week-long hearing loss.