What’s the best way to wind down from finals week? A concert, of course! My finals week went out with a bang—reggae style. All of my stress was alleviated during the performance of Jewish singer and beatboxer Matisyahu at the Keswick Theatre Dec. 11. The show should have come with a disclaimer: it solely embodied Jewish heritage. Though I am not Jewish myself, I could still appreciate the remarkable talent that echoed through the historic theater.
Initiating the Jewish theme were The LeeVees, a band who writes songs exclusively about Hanukkah. Originally based in New York, the group takes pride in their heritage through their informative yet comical songs. The incredible musical abilities of the five members disguised the amusing lyrics. Amid the gorgeous harmonies, funky riffs and distinctive keyboarding, the crowd erupted in laughter at songs like “Latke Clan,” “Apple Sauce vs. Sour Cream” and “How do you Spell Channukkahh?”
Since the band writes solely about Hanukkah, they only gig around this time of year, playing two or three shows each season. Their lack of experience was evident as the band continuously forgot song lyrics, though they recovered humorously time and again. Despite their lack of organization, their witty personalities charmed the audience.
But of course, the highlight of The LeeVees performance was when Matisyahu himself joined the group on stage to perform “Outside of December.” As the first live performance of the new song, the crowd went wild, growing even more eager for Matisyahu’s act.
When he finally dashed onto the stage for his individual performance, adrenaline overcame the crowd, filling the theater with scattered applause and camera clicks. Though he was shy in the beginning and remained glued to his stool, he warmed up as the crowd did—the more cheers that followed his singing, the more comfortable he became. A charismatic smile became plastered on his face during crowd favorites such as “Live Like a Warrior” and “Sunshine.” As he shuffled across the stage, his silver locks danced with him. His obvious passion fueled the night for an astonishing two and a half hours; yet, he never expressed any signs of weariness and his energy levels only grew throughout the night, especially during his impressive rounds of beatboxing.
Though the setting was classy with chic lighting and ushers to guide each listener to their seat, the crowd contrasted this elegance with their dancing and drunken cheers, establishing a truly enjoyable environment. Matisyahu dazzled the audience from the beginning, even asking technicians to turn up the lights so he could see each fan’s face.
Just when the crowd was overwhelmed with excitement, Matisyahu faked an ending with the beloved “One Day.” The audience immediately begged for an encore with manic shouts and chants, and Matisyahu gave us even more than we desired. With a clever mashup, he left the crowd screaming as he enticed us with the best beatboxing of the night. Showing off even more of his talents, he sat down at the drums and continued to impress us with his perfect drumming. To stay true to the Jewish theme, he ended with his song “Jerusalem” while simultaneously lighting a menorah to please the crowd.
As the fifth day of Hanukkah, the concert at the Keswick paid a perfect tribute to the holiday and the religion in general, even though it was not what I anticipated. The breathtaking performances by the LeeVees and Matisyahu not only enticed fellow Jews; their talent united a motley audience with all different backgrounds, getting us all excited for the holidays.