The Tallest Man on Earth at Razzmatazz, Barcelona 2 December 2010
Last December I had the luck of seeing Kristian Matsson A.K.A. The Tallest Man on Earth, perform live at Razzmatazz in Barcelona. A friend had mentioned that there was a Bob Dylan-like musician performing and I was curious to check it out. It turned out to be one of the best shows I’ve seen. Along with Bon Iver, The Tallest Man on Earth has renewed my interest in folk music again.
He gave an outstanding performance that kept a full house passionately dancing and singing along to his bluesy, soulful songs. He was basically a one man show that balanced energetic acoustic guitar and keyboard playing with passionate lyrics and his rich voice. The magic of his artistry is a blend of thoughtful ballads with his unembellished presentation. His stage presence was just the basics, comprised entirely of the musician, his instruments and his voice. His only accompaniment was Amanda Berman, who joined him for a duet in his song, Thrown Right at Me.
Of the songs, I loved his ironic performance of The King of Spain, us being in Spain. He jokingly called himself out on it as he hadn’t thought of the weight of performing it live in Barcelona, Spain when composing the lyrics. The Gardner, Love is All and The Dreamer were among the other highlights of the show.
He definitely brought the spirit of Bob Dylan’s raw style and I could see the comparison. His lyrics also have a stark, poetic quality much like Dylan. His songs are all composed in English and he sings with an American (slightly mid-western) accent, so I was surprised to find that, while he had lived in America for a time, he was actually from Sweden. He seemed fairly young, but his lyrics had the maturity of a man that has traveled and has had his crossings with life. The Tallest Man on Earth is only on his second album, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this artist goes on to develop over the years.
It seems like there is a “genuine” meter inside that let’s us know when we’ve made a connection with something “real.” Kristian Matsson is able to do that with his music. His songs, lyrics and voice draw you in to familiar themes with universal understanding. It’s rare to find someone that can give you the “straight-talk” without the cynicism and in a positive and uplifting way. Like the pied-piper, his magnetic charm will be sure attract a following.
Video of The King of Spain live:
Video of The Gardner live in Barcelona:
Video of Love is All live:
Video of Thrown Right at Me live in Barcelona: