The Tallest Man on Earth Has Energy to Spare

June 16th, 2009

The Tallest Man on Earth – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 13, 2009

The Tallest Man on Earth

On Friday night, Swedish singer Kristian Matsson, also known as the Tallest Man on Earth (despite his ostensibly normal height), occupied the stage at Music Hall of Williamsburg, churning out an hour of country-blues-inspired tunes. Locked at the microphone in a fighting stance, Mattson pointed his guitar like a machine gun for the majority of the set and fingerpicked a maelstrom of notes at rapid-fire. With only an acoustic guitar, smoky voice and a seemingly endless store of gumption at his disposal, he had no trouble spellbinding a packed house. He was alone onstage, save for an array of pedals, that spare acoustic guitar and a red chair he never sat in for more than three seconds at a time. The way he winced, you would think he had sat down to play the “hard parts.”

Matsson’s energy was wild and undeterred. While he wasn’t crooning into the microphone, he traversed the stage, gesticulating loudly and slamming his faulty guitar chord back in like punctuation. His ebullience did not go unappreciated, inspiring audience-driven percussion while he stepped in time. For all of his stage antics, the Tallest Man’s superhuman qualities were to be found in his vocal chords, not his stature. Sounding whiskey soaked and gravelly, his voice reached up to the rafters. The Tallest Man ended his second-to-last song by vigorously throwing down his pick before gently picking up his guitar again and politely asking the audience for permission to play one more. Upon terminating his set for good, Matsson exited the stage, but not before shaking hands and giving hugs to extended (and I do mean extended) applause. —Theo Spielberg