Live: Matisyahu Evades Beard Questions at Kravis Center, December 29

Categories: Last Night

Matisyahu-93.jpg
Monica McGivern
Matisyahu
With Adam Weinberg on acoustic guitar
Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, West Palm Beach
Thursday, December 29, 2011

Check out the slideshow here.

Better than: Hanging out at your university's Hillel on a chilly Thursday evening.

It's easy to sum up last night's intimate Matisyahu show at West Palm's Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in one word: underwhelming.

Billed as an acoustic show with the Hasidic (ex? -- we're still not sure) Jewish hip-hop and reggae artist with an attached question-and-answer session, the concert was ideally a platform for fans to reach out and create a discussion with Matisyahu on topics of music, spirituality, and how the two intertwine.

Unsurprisingly to us, given his pithy attitude of late, that discussion never happened, and the questions fans submitted before the show were pushed to the wayside.

"We advertised this as a Q&A," Matisyahu said after coming back on the stage for his encore. "But I've really not been in the mood to answer questions. I'll answer two or three tops, so make them count."

Audience members ran to the front of the concert hall, but one kid hopped up onstage before the rest, put his arm around the singer, and asked the question that was on everyone's mind.

"You recently shaved your beard, and I'm a fan no matter what," he said. "But what inspired you to do that?"

Instead of answering, Matisyahu told the kid to go to RollingStone.com to watch an interview he gave in which he talked about his decision to shave. Needless to say, it was kind of an awkward moment.

The next two questions were also met with half-assed answers. And it seemed like the only point of real honesty came with the last question, when a young man asked the rapper about the difficulties of being Jewish and in the music industry.

It also seemed as if Matisyahu wanted to talk about his chopped-off locks on his own terms.

"I want to talk about my beard for a minute," the rapper said in-between songs. "I really wasn't planning on telling anybody; I was just going to show up at a show one night. No one was going to recognize me."

But after reading a tweet from a fan (something he "has since stopped doing") reminding him of "what it's all about," he went into his bathroom armed with an iPhone and snapped the photos.

And that was it. End of discussion.

Matisyahu-102.jpg
Monica McGivern

Two chairs, two bottles of water, a mic, and a guitar sat on the stage as the lights dimmed. The hushed talk of the sold-out crowd turned into a roar as Matisyahu -- wearing a pair of rather obnoxious sunglasses -- and South Florida native Adam Weinberg walked onstage.

The two launched into a cover of Bob Marley's "Running Away," setting the concert off at an easy pace.

Weinberg's guitar skills remained impressive throughout the show, outshining Matisyahu's shaky falsetto on more than one occasion. The rapper stuck to mostly older material throughout the night, skipping fan favorites like "Time of Your Song" and "King Without a Crown." The audience's shouts for specific songs were met by a cold response from the rapper at one point.

"I heard you the first few times," he said as calls for "One Day" and "King Without a Crown" rained down from the rafters. "You shouting probably won't make us play sooner."

All in all, the show plodded along with adequate mediocrity, with Matisyahu's lavish beatboxing and Weinberg's guitar as the night's high points. Matisyahu exited the stage to a standing ovation, but many fans drove away that night with a thirst for songs that went unsung and minds full of questions still burning.

Critic's Notebook:

Crowd: Surprisingly a lot of gray heads in the audience -- more than a few walkers were spotted. Younger couples and groups of college students filled the sold-out concert hall.

Overheard: In the thickest New York accent you can possibly imagine, woman one: "Have you ever heard of this guy?" Woman two: "We're related! He's a local boy, grew up in White Plains. He shaved his beard, ya know." Woman one: "Oh my."

Set list:

Running Away
Indestructible
Warrior
Jerusalem
Darkness Into Light
Thunder Obstacles
Dispatch the Troops
Sunshine
Ancient Lullaby
Open the Gates
So High So Low

Encore

One Day (Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry")



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8 comments
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Eugene
Eugene

It's not the reviewer's job to be a fan.

Mcwildlifemanny
Mcwildlifemanny

The show was so amazing I dont care if he didnt play the popular songs or didnt answer questions he simply rocked and thats all I care. This writer def. is just trying to stir up neg. stuff that wasnt even there sorry but there are way more positive fans then neg. when it comes to Matisyahu :)

yanky
yanky

I went to a similar event just before Purim last year in Long Island. Very underwhelming was a great description. I have been a big fan from the first Jimmy Kimmel appearance. I thought that maybe he's not great with acoustic. I saw him again on the first night of channuka (2nd show without the beard). He was ok; seemed very distant and not into the show. The next night he had the run in with the camera person. We all go through ups and downs in life, but most of us don't have people asking a million questions about it when we're feeling down. I'm sure he'll bounce back from this. I would imagine the beard will be back by this time next year. Sometimes you have to let things go for them to fell real again. Keep searching, Matis. Life is a journey. 

noah
noah

i was the kid who hopped on staged!! and this writer is completely wrong on many aspects, focusing on all the negative just like the meraglim

Max
Max

shows was awesome...you forgot a bunch of songs that were played: Thunder, I Will Be Light, So Hi So Low, and I think one more as well...

Adele Hampton
Adele Hampton

Thanks for the catch Max. I'll go back and see what I missed and add it in.

Graysonboyer
Graysonboyer

wow this writer seems to have more issues than Matis does...you realize you sound like a huge (you know what) in this article.  Show was amazing, all the stuff you're knocking him for was actually said and done in good fun and in and in a positive playful manner with the audience that got big laughs.  Shocking how you tried to spin it.  Anyway, keep on keeping on Matis, one of the best shows I and the 8 people I cam with have ever been to of yours. 

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