Tallest_Man_Bham.jpg
Andrew Gospe
The Tallest Man on Earth

The Tallest Man on Earth

The Performing Arts Center at Western Washington University

Saturday, April 23

The Tallest

"/>

The Tallest Man on Earth Brings Out His Inner Punk Rocker for an Eager Crowd in Bellingham

Tallest_Man_Bham.jpg
Andrew Gospe
The Tallest Man on Earth

The Tallest Man on Earth

The Performing Arts Center at Western Washington University

Saturday, April 23

The Tallest Man on Earth, the nom du folk of Sweden's Kristian Matsson, is often compared to Bob Dylan on the basis of his gravelly, emotive singing voice, and Saturday night at Western Washington University's Performing Arts Center he received a greeting worthy of Robert Zimmerman himself: The young, enthusiastic crowd at the sold-out show met him with a standing ovation when he walked onstage.

The gracious reception, likely the result of the show's being on a college campus in a town with an unfortunate dearth of underage shows, seemed to surprise and humble Matsson, who responded by thanking the audience modestly and profusely.

Luckily, such coyness was nowhere to be found during his set. Matsson mentioned several times that he used to play in a punk band, and he brings that genre's frenetic energy to his intricately finger-picked acoustic folk, darting around the stage, forcefully stomping time with his feet and dramatically drawing out each climactic moment for maximum effect. The man is a born performer--it's not everyone who can walk alone onto a huge stage and completely captivate an audience with just vocals and guitar--and had the audience not been so generous from the onset, he would have quickly won them over anyway.

Matsson played an even mix of material from last year's The Wild Hunt and 2008's Shallow Grave, along with a couple cuts from his Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird EP, also released last year. The more recent tunes were the most memorable--"King of Spain" and "Love Is All" were crowd favorites, and "The Dreamer," one of the few songs for which Matsson sat, gracefully closed the set. The ovation at show's close was even louder than at the beginning, which made sense: Matsson had more than reciprocated the crowd's enthusiasm.

Reporter's Notebook:

Overheard: "Don't get me wrong, I like flowers a lot," Matsson said while explaining how he was nearly late to the show. He was referring to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which was responsible for a gigantic Saturday-afternoon traffic jam in Mount Vernon, rendering what is usually a 90-minute jaunt up I-5 into two and a half hours of painfully slow going.

Random Notebook Dump: Ironically, the Tallest Man is not very tall--in person, he didn't look more than 5'7".

BTW: Western's Performing Arts Center is a great venue for live music: spacious, with lots of natural reverb and echo, and featuring an antique pipe organ that dominates the back of the stage.

Western_PAC.jpg
WWU's Performing Arts Center.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 
comments powered by Disqus