Beyond the look is the music. The Jewish aspect and spirituality of Matisyahu's music is less obvious and worn on the sleeve on "Spark Seeker," which drops in one week, than before as well.
So when Matis tells the crowd near the end of the end, "Thank you Boston, we'll never forget this night," one wonders if that, in fact, would be a good thing. The fact was this was not meat and potatoes Matisyahu, nor was it all that exciting for the most part.
Matisyahu, heretofore, engaged in a reggae/rap thing going on for the most part. There was a spirit and connectedness between performer and audience. A sizable portion of the audience had been Jewish, but not on this night when the sound often was guitar playing from Dave Holmes that rocked more and heavier handed drumming from Joe Tomino.
While the new songs sounded good both on CD and live (except for the recorded doctored voice intro to Searchin ), it also was a bit challenging to the crowd to hear several new songs in a row, instead of spacing them out more within the set.
Another change from previous concert was the length of the gig. The regular set barely clocked in at over an hour, although with a lengthy encore, it ended up being 90 minutes. But a chunk of the songs towards the end were stretched out with Matisyahu playing snippets of such strong songs Chop 'Em Down and So Hi, So Lo. Previous gigs stretched past the two-hour mark.
So, it was curious that Matisyahu called this a night to remember when the response of the crowd largely was on the lukewarm side. That only changed during the encore when about a 100 fans crowded on the stage dancing and shaking to their friends with Matisyahu eventually nowhere to be scene until they peacefully left.
Fortunately, Matisyahu closed with perhaps his best song, One Day, a call to peace and understanding. Maybe that was also a shout out to his fans to accept the new Matisyahu.
California band The Dirty Heads preceded Matisyahu with a sharper reggae/rap/rock set with a chunk of energy. Singer Jared "Dirty J" Watson and vocalist/guitarist Dustin "Duddy B" Bushnell tended to trade off on vocals with Bushnell's sometimes softer, steely guitar playing adding a nice touch.
The band's best known song, Lay Me Down, was punctuated by Matisyahu coming out in what, looking back, may well have been the highlight of the night.