Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Matisyahu, Toots and the Maytals to play July 14 at Congress Theater in Chicago

It's likely to be the most diverse concert bill ever. 

Matisyahu, Toots and the Maytals and Lukas Nelson will take the stage July 14 at Congress Theater in Chicago. Tickets will go on sale at noon Friday at or

Matisyahu was born in West Chester, Penn., as Matthew Miller. His family eventually settled in White Plains, New York. He spent some time as a young man as a self-professed "Phish-head," taking hallucinogens and following the rock band Phish on tour.

In the fall of 1995, Matisyahu took part in a two month-long program that offers students first-hand exploration of Jewish heritage at the Alexander Muss High School in Hod Hasharon, Israel. His experiences there significantly affected his feelings towards Judaism eventually leading to his decision to adopt Orthodox Judaism, becoming a Baal Teshuva around 2001. 

Soon after his adoption of Hasidism, he recorded his first album. He counts Bob Marley, Phish, God Street Wine and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach among his musical inspirations.

Toots and the Maytals are key figures in reggae music. The Maytals were comprised of leader Frederick "Toots" Hibbert, Nathaniel "Jerry" Matthias, and Raleigh Gordon, all natives of Kingston, the Maytals are said to have been the first group to use the word "reggae" in a song title with their Leslie Kong-produced "Do the Reggay."

Formed in the early '60s when ska was hot, the Maytals had a reputation for having strong, well-blended voices and a seldom-rivaled passion for their music.

Lukas Nelson is the son of music legend Willie Nelson. He fronts the Southern-folk-rock group Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, whose full-length debut CD, "Promise of the Real," was released in December 2010.

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