“Live at Stubb’s Vol. II” is a return to form and a nostalgia-tinged throwback for Matisyahu, the world-
famous (and sometimes infamous) Hasidic reggae artists. It seems like being an avid Matisyahu fan is a
rite of passage for Jewish young adults across the nation: first the Bar Mitzvah, then Matisyahu fandom,
and then Birthright Israel.
Matisyahu is the rare artist who seems to shine in live performances rather than on the album tracks
themselves. “Live at Stubb’s, Vol. I” may have been the most decisive factor in Matiyshau’s meteoric rise
a few years ago – first he was an underground favorite, then he was a breakout success, and then he
became the musical mascot of every Hillel group across America.
Matisyahu, however, is undeniably talented. Perhaps one has to be a little open-minded to accept so
much Judaic philosophy in reggae music, but one should also remember that reggae and Rastafarianism
are normally inseparable ideas. Sometimes the whole concept of an orthodox reggae artist seems like a
bit of a gimmick, but Matisyahu somehow makes it work to his advantage.
The best track on “Live at Stubb’s, Vol. II” is “Youth,” which was the best track on the 2006 album of
the same title. There are no real problem songs on the album, and while many tracks on the CD sound
similar, this does not pose any real disadvantage. Matisyahu is still a phenomenally talented artist, and if
anything, “Live at Stubb’s, Vol. II” proves that readers should do whatever necessary to get their hands
on a ticket for this Thursday’s performance.
Rating: 3/4 stars
Release Date: Feb. 1, 2011
Label: MRI Associated Labels