From the first resounding strums out of Sweden-born Tallest Man on Earth‘s guitar, the air filled up with an organic warmth that is hard to describe. Kristian Matsson is himself a seed, body clenched tight about his guitar and sprouting out green shoots of song, all crawling vines of plucked guitar and the broad leaves of his wide, penetrating voice. He trades the electric guitar for an acoustic and brings out “1904,” the single from his recently released album, There’s No Leaving Now. The familiarity of his music does not stem from a likeness to his over-referenced musical doppelganger, Dylan. Rather, his songs have a way of working inside you, taking a seat, and staying for a while, long after the music stops. In performance, Tallest Man has a great amount of nervous kinetic energy stored in his tiny frame, weaving its way into excitedly spun guitar playing. As he leans into the mic, his muscles tense; he paces the stage in small steps, taking a seat for a moment only to get up a moment later. And even seated, he looks about, legs akimbo, taking brief wild-eyed glaces into somewhere just beyond. He ends with the beautiful “Wind and Walls,” and in a flurry of bows he blows us a kiss and takes his leave.
Wanderlust followed up with a high-energy set, all shiny guitars and harmony’d choruses. They were in full force, playing with enough energy to confuse the noon-time gig with a sold-out midnight show. “I saw this on a Rolling Stones concert,” says frontman Scot Sax, who then proceeds to spray his water bottle over the audience. The Free at Noon show having been thus thoroughly Mick Jaggered, Wanderlust rocked through one more final song and bid us a good day. Be sure to catch them tonight at North Star Bar. (Tickets available here for $12; the show is 21+).
Check out photos from the performance above.