I am a Yid. I like to rock. Veitur!

- [ Friday, January 28, 2005 ] -
Matisyahu: The concert
Sklaro's impressions
Psycho Toddler's impressions
Cara's impressions

I think around 15 people made it on our venture from Chicago to Milwaukee to see Matisyahu. Turner Hall is a beautiful venue. It's an old building that has been around for about a hundred years and survived a couple fires. The sound blows. It's a crime to hold a rock show there (reggae - whatever). The sound in most of the room was very muddy and boomy.

I took a seat in front rows with my wife, but I just got antsy. I can't sit for these shows. I felt that if I stayed seated for too long, I might as well have spent my evening watching a music DVD. After a few songs, I adjourned myself to the men's separate dancing area where I could get my groove on. The volume didn't bother me and the sound was very clear in front. If you're unfortunately stuck with seeing a great band in a crappy ballroom, your best bet is to get something to plug your ears (or not) and get to within fifteen feet of the speakers. Plus, dancing is always better than sitting. Not that I always dance, but last night, the music moved me. It was funny watching the Chabad rabbis try to figure out how to dance to reggae. Eventually, their joy of music and motion led them to some kind of spastic combination of jumping up and down, hora, and hippie-noodle-dancing.

Matisyahu is definitely a presence. He is also authentic. Authentic reggae. Authentic Jewish. His singing and dancing is real reggae and real Jewish at the same time. He had a wicked niggun/beatbox song. The band jammed (at least two of the members are Jewish, to my knowledge). I'm a new fan of the guitarist, Aaron Dugan. He plays a lot of cool freak-out jams. It was a great show. I loved it and had a great time. It sounded great from where I stood/danced-like-an-idiot. I don't think there's too much more to say. There is a quote often attributed to Frank Zappa, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." The show was an experience.

I'm not sure about Matisyahu's bootleg policy, but seeing that he's into Phish, he's probably ok with it. I brought my MiniDisc recorder (I don't advise buying one, it's the Betamax of personal recording equipment) and taped the show. I'll make the bootlegs available to friends, but I want to ask Matis before I post it online somewhere. The quality is pretty good, probably better than some seats. I can understand most of the vocals, but it's still pretty boomy. There are a few glitches in the recording which just means I have to clean my MD recorder.

Oh yeah, we met up with Milwaukee's own Jewish rock veteran and blogger extraordinaire, Psycho Toddler, and I introduced him to blogger-buddy and real-life buddy, Sklaro. As with all blogger meetings, it felt really goofy talking to someone in person when you're used to communicating via smart-ass comments every few hours. We eventually were able to share our feelings about the show.

Later, I tried to talk to the musicians. I did, but I acted like such a fan. I was barely able to introduce myself without gushing about the performance, and their place in the Jewish music scene. I was too shy to tell them about how I can relate to them through my own Jewish rock bands or my blog or my fights on their behalf against the hateful ignorance on the Jewish Music group ("rapping on stage in the style of some of the low-life non jewish reggae singers[sic]" - courtesy of the moderator). I was hoping to start a conversation where these things would come out, but there were too many other fans and well-wishers. Maybe we can be internet buddies.

This has to be the first venue I heard of that had separate dancing. I think some of venues organized by Habad like this and the one at the New Jew in Boston suffer poor acoustics.

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