Date: September 8th 2012
Line up: Matisyahu, Dirty Heads, HB Surround Sound
Location: Fillmore Theatre. Denver, CO
All the electricity and manpower was called upon for Saturday night’s showcase of Matisyahu and the Dirty Heads at Denver, Colorado’s Fillmore Auditorium. The marquee was lit brightly for all those outside the venue doors to realize what type of show they were actually missing.
The tag-team duo of Matisyahu and the Dirty Heads reached the western states and wrangled up HB Surround Sound for the final dates of the tour, and the Denver crowd lined up early to witness the fellow Huntington Beach outfit and comrades of the Dirty Heads. However, it didn’t take long before the entire dance floor became engulfed with rambunctious fans anticipating the main attractions of the Dirty Heads and Matisyahu to follow.
With the lights only dimmed for a few minutes, the first overpowering sounds from the Fillmore stage came from the newest edition to the Dirty Heads’ family on the keyboards, as the introductory keyboard synthesized horns for “Hipster” rang true throughout the venue walls.
The crowd was enthralled by the opening song, but midway through when Jared “Dirty J” Watson introduced his vocal stylings on the second verse with, “So, you want to play this game with me, but you got way too much lag…” The cheering crowd nearly drowned out the enormous amplifiers and speakers within the Fillmore Auditorium. No malfunction occurred with their sound system, the fans just erupted with unbridled jubilation that the Dirty Heads were back in their hometown, once again.
Now with a more complete and natural sound, the addition of a keyboardist for live shows has been a far better portrayal of the unadulterated sound on the Cabin By The Sea recordings. Even on the older classics like “Check The Level”, “Taint” and “Hip Hop Misfits” from Any Port In A Storm, all sounded rejuvenated. Similarly, the new comfort level has spread to both Dustin “Duddy B” Bushnell and Dirty J displaying more personality and charisma onstage, as Jared picked up one of Jon Jon’s tambourines for the song “Cabin By The Sea”, and bounced and swayed across the stage all night.
The Dirty Heads exuded confidence the entire night, and played one of, if not the best Dirty Heads show these eyes and ears have taken in. Impressed was the word that came to mind the entire night. The new songs were performed effortlessly like they were old live staples and even meshed the longtime crowd favorites like “Neighborhood” as well as performing three of the four songs featuring guest appearances on Cabin By The Sea. The fan favorite for the evening had to be “Dance All Night” with Matisyahu joining the Dirty Heads onstage.
Following the Dirty Heads set, Jared shared his thoughts on those all-star guest appearance tracks, and singing Ky-Mani Marley and Rome’s respective verses in each song live: “To be able to get Ky-Mani Marley on a song where we are praising his father was absolutely crazy. I never would have thought I would be on a song with a Marley…I don’t have a problem with singing their spots live. With Rome we have known him for so long, and with Ky-Mani, that song was done before with our lyrics. Ky-Mani told us he loved that song so much that he had to get on it. On that song, he sounds like Bob. I’m not going to try and sound like anyone but me. We don’t want to not play those songs live because everyone loves them. So, no issues at all.”
With a brief interlude with the Dirty Heads backstage, it was back to the 4,000 person capacity Fillmore dance floor, as Matisyahu was already in the process of displaying his piercing live performance. As Matisyahu has shifted his onstage attire from the traditional Hasidic garments to fashionable jeans and shirts with a Los Angeles Dodgers hat to finish off the new look, his onstage persona has been boosted as well. On numerous occasions, Matisyahu jumped off stage and reached into the crowd to greet his fans, all the while still belting out his peaceful lyrics.
A Matisyahu show is truly an experience. The music is overpowering in a very good way, and the light show on this particular night rivaled that of 311’s impressive visual experience. But, when attending a show with Matisyahu onstage, your feet are always moving and mind is always accepting to his words.
All of this came to fruition when Matisyahu closed out the show with his hit song, “One Day”. The show turned into a family gathering as friends and fans alike from the backstage area poured onto the stage joining Matisyahu and the Dub Trio. If any of the concertgoers left without a smile a mile wide, I would be shocked.
Dirty Heads Set List:
Cabin By The Sea
Check The Level
We Will Rise
Spread Too Thin
Lay Me Down
Dance All Night
Hip Hop Misfits