I could go on for hours about everything The Tallest Man On Earth has done for me individually. Almost every long road trip I’ve been on since 2010 has featured at least one of his albums; The Wild Hunt I can say for certain has been spun at least 75 times by myself alone, and Shallow Grave is certainly up there in my personal rotation as well. When I realized I was going to get to hear a new album and one of the first live performances with a full band all in one week, I (admittedly) temporarily lost the ability to function.
The album itself stays true to where The Tallest Man came from; the album has no shortage of stretches with only him and his guitar, letting his lyrics and his capo-ed, unorthodoxly-tuned guitar do the talking. In addition to the old stuff we’re used to, the band we saw at NonCOMM adds a new dimension; there is a sense of expansion in his sound, an increase in size and depth that we’re not used to stemming from frequent harmonies, danceable drum beats, and strings among others.
Live, Kristian Matsson is a spiritual experience; for a folk singer, his stage presence is unparalleled, and his voice is as powerful and soulful on the stage as it is in the studio. He and his band expertly showcased the expansiveness of their new sound, with “Sagres,” “Dark Bird Is Home” and “Slow Dance” being especially memorable highlights. My only qualm with the set was the lack of older tunes; “King of Spain” and “Kids On The Run” got me through many a bad day, but I guess I’ll have to get myself down to The Tower this weekend to hear those.
Check out photos from the performance below!
NonCOMM 2015, The Tallest Man On Earth, World Cafe Live