Grey clouds of warm breathe reacted against the cold as students huddled closely in small groups around Preston’s main doors, waiting in excited anticipation to hear the genre bending and melodic music of Matisyahu.
One of the luxuries students get on Radford University’s campus is the opportunity to attend a plethora of different performances throughout the year. From up-and-coming comedians, to world renowned classical musicians, to sensational pop artists, if you have any fancy at all rest assured Radford will try to tickle it.
The night began with the opening band “Moon Taxi” who was promoting their recent release “Mountains Beaches Cities”. Though the crowd was initially hesitant to get behind their music, it only took a minute or two before the whole auditorium stood up and began moving. Their sound tapped into an incredibly smooth blend of alternative pop and funk. The stand out song “Beaches” hit the audience hardest with a huge dynamic progression that resulted in roaring applause as the frontman set in for a soulful guitar solo.
After a huge applause following their closer, Moon Taxi left the stage. the house lights came back on and the crowd died down again
A low hum of conversations filled the air as students waited patiently for some kind of movement to hint at Matisyahu’s arrival. After a relatively short wait, the house lights turned and a dark blue glow emitted from the stage. Immediately the crowd erupted as dark figures filed in behind different instruments. Though Preston’s auditorium is completely seated, the audience couldn’t help but stand up and cheer when Matisyahu, clean shaven and wearing a jacket and sneakers, took the stage following his band.
They wasted no time with idle conversation or bland introductions, instead opening their set with an adrenaline rushed drum and guitar riff which set the tone for what would be a versatile and unpredictable sound that night. As soon as the drums kicked in Matisyahu began dancing across the stage, which prompted the audience to start moving as well. After only a few songs, the idea that it was a seated auditorium was completely lost amidst the sea of people moving to the music.
Matisyahu’s band, the Dub Trio, was essential to the explosive setlist that night. The bassist bounced back and forth from his synth keyboard to his bass guitar, staying toe to toe with the drummer who gained crowd favor early on that night. The drummer received many spontaneous swells of applause as he would build off of Matisyahu’s beatboxing tangents he’d go on throughout the night. The guitarist quickly defined the mood of each song, be it through a clean and twangy tone reminiscent of the middle east or an unexpected grungy distorted riff. Each member excelled in their respective roles.
Throughout the night Matisyahu hit all of the appropriate chords with his fans. Though most of his songs were from his latest album “Spark Seeker”, he made sure to dial on some nostalgia for long time fans as well with songs like “King Without a Crown” and “One Day”.
The crowd grew restless as the night started coming to a close. Matisyahu was holding out on one of his most recent singles “Sunshine” which instantly settled into being a fan favorite. Using the crowd’s anticipation to his advantage, Sunshine was the very last song of the night. As the guitar came in with that identifiable riff, Matisyahu invited around 20 people on stage to dance with him. As people hugged and danced with Matisyahu on stage, the whole auditorium danced as well in what was truly a harmonious ending to an exciting night.