Last Friday night I went to my first live show in quite awhile, and damn was it good! Genre blending Dustin Thomas opened the night performing an impassioned set filled with reggae, hip-hop, and folk influenced protest songs, and sent a message of peace and tolerance. I had listened to a bit of Thomas’ music before, but seeing him live was a whole different story. Right off of the bat he impressed the audience with his incredible beat- boxing skills, and captured the attention of everyone at the venue. His songs continued to be filled with beat-boxing and high energy playing, but transitioned to a more socially conscious theme. The audience was very receptive to these tunes, including ones pertaining to the Dakota Pipeline. Thomas was an incredible performer, and had an amazing stage presence. He put everything he had into the set, and even broke a string on his guitar at one point. This did not faze him, though, and he finished out the remainder of the set without switching instruments. If you’re not familiar with Dustin Thomas, I highly recommend listening to some of his songs, especially “Strong Like Jah,” “Let It Go,” and “Try Try Try.”
When Trevor Hall took the stage, the already energetic crowd came to life. For those of you who haven’t heard of him, imagine a more Rastafarian, less “surfer dude” version of Jack Johnson. Dustin Thomas put on a great show for sure, but his set did not come close to Hall’s. It was really interesting seeing the contrast in performances between the two, and it really illustrated how big of a difference there is between the raw energy in Thomas’ set and the polished nature of Hall’s. Hall’s set was short and sweet. He only played 11 songs, but made sure to include some of his best. He played a variety of new and old songs, and even brought out a Native American friend to perform a special dance. He also worked in a neat cover medley by injecting verses from various songs, including M.I.A.’s hit “Paper Planes” and Nahko and Medicine for the People’s “I Mua,” into one of his own. This, as well as his performance of “Green Mountain State,” were definitely my favorites of the night. The show was incredible, but I did leave a little disappointed that he didn’t play my favorite of his songs, “The Mountain.” But all in all, the night was amazing, and the show was a must see.