Photos By Miranda Hontz, Words By Peter Lillis
Like the stage name implies, there’s a mystical quality to Kristian Matsson’s musical persona, The Tallest Man on Earth. As the figure pranced incessantly on stage at The Lincoln Theatre last Sunday, I couldn’t get the term “nymph-like” out of my head. Rightly so, I suppose, it’s an effective strategy. For two hours, he held the mesmerized sold-out crowd in the palm of his magic hand.
Rather than going full on art-folk like last month’s incredible Sufjan Stevens’ performance at DAR, The Tallest Man on Earth celebrated his reemergence with some good natured rock and roll, with a sad twist of course. Matsson and his competent backing band played through his May 2015 LP Dark Bird Is Home (Dead Oceans), his first since 2012, as well as dusting off tracks as old 2008, and just about everything in between. As each ballad came to a close, a clearly ravaged but ebullient Matsson would toss his broken pick across the stage, stand tall [heh] on solid ground and look out at the crowd as if he’s seeing the world and his fans for the first time. And through his emotive performance, we feel new as well. That’s a picture of dedication; to still be shaken to the core by one’s own songs, regardless of the umpteen writing and recording sessions, rehearsals and nightly gigs around the world.
And that’s the dichotomy Matsson brings to the folk troubadour trope: mystical in essence yet genuine in person.
Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear