Show Review: Tallest Man on Earth @ Paramount Theatre (8/28)

After spending several weeks with There’s No Leaving Now, I was really looking forward to hearing Kristian Matsson, aka The Tallest Man on Earth.  Not only did I get to see him grace the stage, but the show was at Paramount, which is perfectly fitting for music of this ilk.

Read on for more pics and comments from the set.

Strand of Oaks opened the evening up perfectly, setting the mood, though somberly, for what would be a great night. I was surprised by both the humility and humor of the duo, with singer Tim often taking a brief moment to make allusions to song meanings and fill us in on his life.  Musically, his vocals sounded huge in the theatre, leaving me anxious about how Kristian would perform later in the evening.  Could he match the authority of which these two had on the stage?

In truth, the answer is a resounding yes.  I shouldn’t have expected anything less after seeing TMoE several times in the past, but with new albums, artists sometimes change their live approach.  This wasn’t the case on Tuesday night, as the only prop on stage seemed to be a lonely chair that Kristian rarely even used throughout the evening; it was a bare stage, which left the night’s focus all on the little Swede and his guitar.

The majority of the night was spent familiarizing the audience with newer tunes from There’s No Leaving Now, and I completely understand the promotion of new material, though I missed some of my favorite tunes from The Wild Hunt.  There’s a set list at the end, but I think many people can agree that the special moments of the night came twice, both times when Kristian abandoned his trademark guitar and sat down at the electronic piano.  It was here where you could see him completely immersed in song, forgetting his role as a performer, falling deep into his craft.  That’s honestly one of the things I adore about Matsson: his ability to give the audience exactly what they want…turning his eyes to every inch of the crowd, crouching with his weapon strapped over his shoulder as he strummed away furiously.

Watching Tallest Man on Earth is much like listening to his albums; it’s intimate and heartfelt.  This time around, Kristian tossed out a bit more banter than I’ve seen from in the past, though perhaps that was in response to the ridiculous man-child who shouted and yelled for “King of Spain” every other song.  I appreciate the fact that he just wants to get up there and play, and that’s what it should always be about…though I’m now encouraging the abandonment of all planned encores–and not because of this show, just a new general rule.  Here’s the set list for those interested:

To Just Grow Away
Love Is All
I Won’t Be Found
The Gardener
There’s No Leaving Now
It Will Follow the Rain
Leading Me Now
Wind and Walls
Like the Wheel
Where Do My Bluebirds Fly
King of Spain
Revelation Blues

Encore: Little Brother, The Dreamer

Here are some great pics thanks to our dear friend Tim Griffin over at Brooklyn Vegan.  He’s a solid dude, and you can check out more of his shots from this show over at BV Austin. You can check out his other work here.

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