The Tallest Man on Earth as the Most Charming Man in BrooklynJune 3rd, 2015
The Tallest Man on Earth – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 2, 2015
It had been more than six years since I’d last seen the Swedish folk singer Kristian Matsson, better known as the Tallest Man on Earth. Seen is a generous description as I’d caught just the tail end of his set opening for a then rising band by the name of Bon Iver. But it was his voice, somewhat resembling Bob Dylan’s, that stuck in my memory. Not even two years later, he released his brilliant, critically acclaimed sophomore album, The Wild Hunt, and he’s since followed that with two more, including the latest, Dark Bird Is Home. Playing the first of two sold-out New York City shows this week, the Swede leapt onto the stage at Music Hall of Williamsburg last night, kicking off things with a new tune, “Fields of Our Home.” Matsson commented that it had been some time since he’d been back in Brooklyn and referenced the cool factor for Swedes to be there.
Songs off Dark Bird largely dominated the night, but fans were in unison with delight when older numbers were played. Matsson’s band exited the stage leaving the petite Swede to pepper the crowd with oldies “Love Is All” and “The Gardener.” A male suitor in the balcony exclaimed, “I love you,” followed by a lady on the floor professing the same. He warned them to listen to his albums carefully, as he isn’t an easy one to love even though the evening momentarily shone a good light on him. The crowd didn’t necessarily heed his warning because it seemed like everyone in the room was thoroughly enthralled by him, as he pranced and lunged end to end.
Once the full band returned, recent single “Sagres” took life before Matsson sat behind the keyboards for the Nate Ruess–sounding “Little Nowhere Towns.” The set came to a rocking end with the surprisingly jam-tastic “Dark Bird Is Home.” Although that wouldn’t conclude the performance, the master of entrances slid down the banister to extend the evening with a two-song encore of a bluesy rendition of “The Dreamer” and fan-favorite “Like the Wheel.” —Sharlene Chiu