Back in 2005, a live recording of his show at Stubb’s unpredictably made Matisyahu an International ‘Hasidic Reggae Superstar’, with his eponymous single “King Without a Crown” hitting #28 on the Billboard Top 100 chart and spurring 2 more live recordings from the Austin venue. With his return to ATX scheduled as their last tour date, rumors began as social media hints on the band’s sites about a fourth live recording on the Broken Crowns tour date eluded to what was indeed fact as he recorded Live at Stubb’s, Vol. IV that night.
The Broken Crowns Tour featured Orphan – the instrumental side project band of Matisyahu whose sound undoubtedly erupts off of the headliner’s signature genre. The trio – who are also of Hasidic Jewish background – set the tone for the night with their diverse reggae sound feeding off of the cultural influence, sound, and visual light show much in the way of their mentor.
ORPHAN PHOTO GALLERY
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Orange County, California-based Common Kings, presented their cross-cultural influence with more of a traditional reggae sound paying homage to both the genre and their roots. The Polynesian-reggae/rock/soul fusion heightened the vitality of the crowd, engaging them in a high-energy-hands-in-the-air show. They exhibited their representation not only for the west coast and Hawaii but also for their eclectic musical influences throwing in riffs from notable artists like Bob Marley, Santana, Sly & the Family Stone, Michael Jackson and Dr. Dre. The Kings promoted some tunes off of their new album Lost in Paradise as well as independently produced YouTube hits “Alcoholic” and “Wade in Your Water.” Whether it was shakas or drinks raised up in the air that night it was a symbol of solidarity for the music, the vibe, and an overall celebration of life.
COMMON KINGS PHOTO GALLERY
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The Broken Crowns Tour was formed to support Matisyahu’s latest studio album, Undercurrent, which is a no holds barred personal creation produced entirely by the band and the artist himself. Still true to the common introspective theme of his lyrics, he’s taken it deeper exploring not only his evolution as an artist but that of the music and band as a whole with the overall concept of it born out of their live improvs. His regard for artistic integrity was embraced by the fans upon his return to the venue that kicked off his career. The depth of the album’s single, “Step Out into the Light,” mirrors the theme of the project’s transcendent pursuit. Solid jam sessions and beatboxing interludes accompanied many of the tunes from the upbeat “Shade from the Sun” to Undercurrent’s “Forest of Faith” which ended with such powerful tranquility. Common King joined Matisyahu on stage bathed in red, gold, and green lights for a performance of their joint single, “Broken Crown,” showing the organic harmony that brought their music together for this tour. Though much has changed for Matisyahu in the last 12 years, and did so because of this song, he recreated much of his performance of “King Without a Crown” from the premier Live at Stubb’s for his fourth recording in person, complete with the stage dive into the crowd. The hard curfew of the venue prevented an anticipated encore of “One Day” with a firm apology from him for the restraint, but the crowd, in the mix of the cameras, remained on a high from the experience of Matisyahu and being part of another recording of his musical history.
Both the tour and the new album mark a turning point for Matisyahu, one of passage into a deeper revelation of self as an artist. He’s paved the way in the last decade for a new sub-genre & culture of reggae budding the solid talent displayed with him that night, and taken it to a level of full artistic reign in production exploring the evolution of self and sound, and continuing to delight fans with the true flow of his craft.