Live Nation presents..Matisyahu w/ Tea Leaf Green at The Egyptian Room.
Matthew Miller was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania on June 30th 1979, corresponding to the Jewish date of the 5th of Tamuz 5740. Shortly after his birth, the Miller family moved to Berkeley, CA and eventually settled in White Plains, NY. Growing up, Matisyahu’s parents sent him to Hebrew School a couple of times a week, but like many kids, he resisted the additional school hours and was frequently threatened with expulsion for disrupting the lessons.
By the age of 14, Matthew Miller slid comfortably into the laid-back lifestyle of a teenage hippie. Having fallen in with the “Dead-Head” crowd, he grew dreadlocks and wore his Birkenstocks all winter long. He played his bongos in the lunchroom and learned how to beat-box in the back of class. By 11th grade, despite his carefree days, Matisyahu couldn’t ignore the void in his life. After nearly burning down his chemistry class, he knew his mission must begin immediately. He decided to set off on a camping trip in Colorado. Away from his suburban life in White Plains, Matisyahu had the opportunity to take an introspective look at himself and contemplate his environment. It was there in the awe-inspiring landscape of the Rocky Mountains that Matisyahu had an eye-opening realization: there is a G-d.
After Colorado, his spiritual curiosity piqued and Matisyahu took his first trip to Israel. There, for the first time in his life, he felt a connection to the G-d he discovered in Colorado. Israel was a major turning point; Matisyahu relished the time he spent there, praying, exploring, and dancing in Jerusalem. In every nook he encountered, his dormant Jewish identity stirred into consciousness.
Leaving Israel proved to be a difficult transition. Once back in White Plains, Matisyahu didn’t know how to maintain his new connection with Judaism. Feeling dejected, he fatefully dropped out of high school and began following Phish on a national tour. On the road, Matisyahu thought seriously about his life, his music, and his thirst for Judaism.
After a few months, burnt out and broke, he returned home. By this time his parents insisted that Matisyahu go and “straighten” himself out at a wilderness school in Bend, Oregon. The school encouraged artistic pursuits and Matisyahu took advantage of this time to delve further into his music. He studied up on reggae and hip-hop. He attended a weekly open-mic where he rapped, sang, beat-boxed, and did almost anything he could to stay creatively charged. It was then that he started to develop the unique reggae-hip hop sound for which he would one day become known.
After 2 years in the “wilderness,” the 19-year old Matisyahu returned to New York a changed man. He moved to the city to attend The New School where he continued honing his musical craft, and also dabbled in the theater. During this time, he happened on the Carlebach Shul, a synagogue on the Upper West Side, well known for its hippie-friendly vibe and exuberant singing. This encounter further fueled his soul-fire, turning him on to the mystical power of song in Hasidic Judaism. Now, instead of beat boxing in the back of the classroom, he was leaving the classroom to pray on the school’s roof. (Religious or not, this guy ain’t made for the classrooms.)
While studying at New School, Matisyahu wrote a play entitled “Echad” (One). The play was about a boy who meets a Hasidic rabbi in Washington Square Park and through him becomes religious. Shortly after the play’s performance, Matisyahu’s life strangely imitated his art. Indeed, years after the initial sparks were lit, Matisyahu met a Lubavitch rabbi in the park, spurring his transformation from Matthew to Matisyahu.
A person who was once skeptical of authority and rules, Matisyahu began to explore and eventually fully take on the Lubavitch Hasidic lifestyle. He thrived on the discipline and structure of Judaism, making every attempt to abide by Jewish Law. The Chabad-Lubavitch philosophy proved to be a powerful guide for Matisyahu. It surrounded him with the spiritual dialogue and intellectual challenge he had been seeking for the past decade. The turmoil and frustration of his search subsided, and now, 2 years later, Matisyahu lives in Crown Heights, splitting his time between the stage and his yeshiva.
Combining the sounds of Bob Marley and Shlomo Carlebach, yet remaining wholly original, Matisyahu’s performance is an uplifting, powerful experience for all in his presence. Even the most pessimistic in his audience is inspired by his ability to so honestly convey such a delicate, topic as faith/spirituality. It is his dedication to his belief and openness to others that compels one to respect his artistry and message. It’s in that fleeting moment when our skepticism melts and our souls open up, that Matisyahu enters with his booming sound of faith.
Also featuring.. Tea Leaf Green
Following the 2005 release of their critically acclaimed album, Taught to be Proud, Tea Leaf Green toured North America becoming one of the most exciting and fastest growing rock bands today. Busting out of a revitalized San Francisco music scene, the group has honed their strength as both songwriters and improvisers to catapult to the next level, keeping audiences screaming for more.
Thanks to their dedicated and connected fan base, the band has gone from playing small bars to large theatres in just a few short years by consistently delivering fresh, mind-blowing live performances. After winning the “Song of the Year” Jammy award for Taught to be Proud’s title track, the road warriors plowed ahead with sold out shows in many major markets including Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, New York and, most notably, the historic Fillmore Auditorium in their hometown of San Francisco, CA. The band’s chops earned the respect of their musical contemporaries as 2006 also found the band opening for the Dave Mathews Band, Trey Anastasio, Gov’t Mule, and Bruce Hornsby.
Their latest release, Rock ‘n’ Roll Band (released October 31, 2006, on SCI Fidelity Records), captures lightning in a bottle. Available separately in both CD & DVD formats, the film joins the band for an evening performance at The Fox Theater in Boulder, Colorado and offers an intimate look at a day in the life of a young rock band on the rise. For the DVD, director Justin Kreutzmann, son of The Grateful Dead’s Billy Kreutzmann, provides both a snapshot of where the band is today and clear evidence of where they are headed tomorrow. Part concert film, part documentary, Rock ‘n’ Roll Band balances blazing live performances with private moments of artful reflection and presents the magic that is Tea Leaf Green for all to enjoy. Just one viewing will be enough to assure you that rock ‘n’ roll never died.
For those new to Tea Leaf Green, Rock ‘n’ Roll Band, serves as the perfect introduction to a group capable of producing beautiful, timeless works like “One Reason” and “Faced with Love” that show off their versatile songwriting abilities. Longtime fans will appreciate the band’s mastery of inspired, transcendent improvisation, as evidenced by the triumphant versions of “Jezebel” and “Devil’s Pay”. The CD offers the same epic Fox Theatre show in audio-only format.
Honoring a long lineage of rock bands that have come before them, Tea Leaf Green pays tribute to the past while carving a distinct name for themselves today. It’s refreshing to have something to look forward to…
* Josh Clark – Guitar/Vocals
* Trevor Garrod – Keyboards/Harmonica/Vocals
* Reed Mathis – Bass
* Scott Rager – Drums
* Ben C. – Bass/Vocals (1997 – 2007)
OKAY – WANT TO WIN TICKETS?
Post your favorite YouTube video of Matisyahu or Tea Leaf Green on this blog.
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The winners will be announced by 3pm today. Tickets can be picked up at will call.
Have fun Mofos!