When I learned that the Tallest Man On Earth would be back in D.C., but at the 9:30 Club instead of The Black Cat, I wasn’t sure if Kristian Matsson’s intricate guitar gems could be pulled off in that space. I was dead wrong.
Sunday’s show capped off a 60-day fall tour, but Matsson rarely looked tired. With most of the night focusing on material from his 2010 releases Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird EP and The Wild Hunt, Matsson was captivating from the get-go.
During his hour and a half set, Matsson silenced the room. At times all you could was Matsson and the occasional shutter-drive on a camera. But when the crowd at the 9:30 Club actually made noise, it was with rapturous applause. Especially on fan favorites “The Gardener”, “The Wild Hunt” and “You’re Going Back”.
The duet with Amanda Bergman on “Thrown Right At Me” to close off the set, was a very sweet and tender moment. The encore of “The Dreamer”, “A Lion’s Heart” and “This Wind” was a satisfying close to a solid show. Matsson might be taking some time off to write or just be home, but it’s rightly deserved.
I must have misunderstood how big Bon Iver actually was in 2008, because the amount of people who were at the 9:30 Club before S. Carey’s show was surprising. Sean Carey, who is known for playing drums in Bon Iver, released his own album early this year and spent his 45-minute set crafting intricate washes of sound. However, those songs from his debut record All We Grow, while complimenting the cold, rainy Sunday night, would have been better if I was in my apartment.
But that’s not true on certain songs. “Mothers” is definitely stage ready, especially with the percussion heavy peak at the end of the song. There is definitely a sign of good things to come for S. Carey, but it might take a second show for me to come around.
If you missed the show, you’ll be able to listen to the Tallest Man On Earth set soon over at NPR.