By Andy J. Gordon
There was an eclectic mix of music fans at Club Nokia on August 3rd, 2011 for a show featuring San Francisco’s Tea Leaf Green and Brooklyn’s Matisyahu. The NoCal jamband rockers and NYC based rap/rock/reggae crooner made an odd pairing, but the boisterous crowd enjoyed a riveting show.
Tea Leaf Green (www.tealeafgreen.com) opened things with their blend of melodic, straight ahead rock. They tend to open up and jam out while in a live setting and this show was no exception. The band is fronted by Josh Clark on guitar and Reed Mathis on bass, who shared lead vocal responsibilities. Trevor Garrod on keyboards with some supporting vocals, Scott Rager on drums and newest member, Cochrane McMillan on drums and percussion rounded out the group. Most of their set was a workout of their new songs from the recently released album Radio Tragedy! From that album, “Germinating Seed” is a hard rocker that featured a nifty guitar solo by Clark. “Sleep Paralysis” is a haunting ballad. “Arise” and “You’re My Star” are a couple of retro-sounding, trippy, psychedelic tunes that had the crowd swaying. The set concluded with “Easy To Be Your Lover” which had harmonies reminiscent of The Bee Gees, and “All Washed Up,” a fast rocker with some wah-wah guitar effects.
The Matisyahu (www.matisyahuworld.com) set followed Tea Leaf Green. The show opened with incredible bass volume that made the walls and audience vibrate to the beat of the music. The band backing the vocalist was Brooklyn’s Dub Trio, which includes guitarist D.P. Holmes, bassist Stu Brooks and drummer Joe Tomino. Their full sound made it seem like there were more musicians on stage. Matisyahu’s vocals were an assortment of rap, beat box, hip-hop, scat, and reggae that he varied through the show. He also thrilled the tightly packed crowd on the floor of Club Nokia with a stage dive and body surf above the outstretched arms of the audience.
The set contained several songs from Live At Stubbs Volume 2, a sequel to his debut live album. Versions of “Darkness,” “Mist Rising,” and “Open The Gates” from the new album really rocked. His big radio hit, “King Without a Crown” drew the loudest applause. Near the end of the show, Matisyahu called members of the audience up to the stage. After a few minutes of frantic leaps onstage, a mass of fans surrounded the singer and bounced with him to the beat until the song ended. The band exited, and once order was restored, they came back out for “One Day,” another radio hit that served as the encore that closed the show. The two bands formed a hard hitting double bill that gave an energized audience a solid live show.
Photo courtesy of Andy J. Gordon and Ellenwood