Gig Reviews

Tallest Man on Earth – Vicar Street – Live Review – 21-10-15

Tallest Man on Earth Vicar Street - Oct 2015

The last time I saw Kristian Matsson live was in Whelans, in June 2010. He was a relatively unknown folk singer playing a small venue. You see a lot of such folk singers, and it’s rare to see one make the break through, to manage to swim upstream. There are hundreds of such singers, and most never move on from venues like Whelans despite their obvious talents, Howe Gelb and Mark Eitzel being obvious examples.

Since that gig, Kristian has made the move to relative stardom, playing outdoor gigs in the Iveagh gardens and selling out venues such as the one he played last night. It would be fascinating to know what separates the ones that make it from those that don’t. Kristian has a good voice and is extremely talented on the guitar. He also has charisma and a touch of a swagger, but I’d be surprised if it comes down to anything more than luck.

These days Kristian has a band with him. There were five members of the band, playing bass, guitar, keyboard, saxophone, pedal steel and violin. The performance mixes up the arrangement considerably, with Kristian often performing solo, before the band re-emerge from the wings. There was songs about fishing, his grandfather (and stuff), another about Portugal (and stuff) on a set that dabbled with each of his four albums.

There is a loss of intimacy when a performer moves to venues of this size and while Kristian did have a band, the focus was inevitably on him and his guitar. Somewhere half way through the set, Kristian mentioned in passing that this was the 75th night in the current tour. It’s impressive that they can travel from town to town playing what appears to be the same set in each venue and keep it fresh, but he seems to love what he is doing and the crowd loved it too.

The set finished with crowd pleasers King of Spain and the title track of the new album Dark Bird is Home. After a very short break, they returned for an unusual version of The Dreamer and Like the Wheel to end the evening. For me, it wasn’t an evening I will remember as fondly as that night in Whelans, but he is certainly an excellent performer and knows how to keep the crowd happy!

Setlist –
Fields of Our Home
Slow Dance
Darkness of the Dream
Love Is All
The Gardener
Thousand Ways
If I Could Only Fly
(Blaze Foley cover)
The Wild Hunt
Revelation Blues
Little Nowhere Towns
Where Do My Bluebird Fly
King of Spain
Dark Bird is Home

The Dreamer
Like the Wheel


Categories: Gig Reviews, Gigs, Header, Music

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