Tallest Man On Earth live at Vicar St

The first time I saw The Tallest Man On Earth live, I, like most everyone there, had no idea who he was. He was opening for Bon Iver at Headliners in Louisville, KY and the rowdy crowd showed little interest when he walked on stage. Kristian Matsson, after shaking several people’s hands, shushed the crowd and said “Excuse me, these people up here at the front want to hear me play a song, and they can’t do that unless everyone is quiet.”  And, rather reluctantly, the noisy bar became church-quiet.  I for one was taken by his set, and felt it over-shadowed Bon Iver’s performance.

Another LP and EP later, TTMOE is headlining his own European tour, as well appearing at some of the top summer festivals on the Continent.   And judging by the full room at Vicar St. in Dublin, he’s made a few fans along the way.  During “Pistol Dreans” the crowd was singing “Throw Me in the Fire Now, Come on!” louder than Matsson, and a couple of times he just let the crowd sing it.

Matsson more than once griped about playing songs from The Wild Hunt, and didn’t even play the title track. “That album was me moaning about some $#*! that happened.” he quipped. “I’ve been moaning all over Europe now.”  He seemed to be more optimistic about his latest EP, Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird, as he played every song on the album.

“This is great. I’m playing my favorite song with my favorite guitar.” he said as he started strumming “Thrown Right at Me.” The song turned out to be a duet with Amanda Bergman of Idiot Wind. Ostensibly, judging by the googly eyes they were making at each other, the two are an item.

In a 1964 Newport Folk Festival-esque moment, Mattson invited the bassist and drummer from opening act Francis to play 3 songs with him (see set list). Unlike Newport, the crowd responded very postively. In my opinion  “Dreamer” particularly sounded more developed with a rhythm section and I think we’ll hear Matsson move more in this direction in the future.

In a largely automized, production-centric music industry, TTMOE is one of those refreshing musical artists that sounds as good if not better live.  I was a little sad he didn’t play “A Thousand Ways” or his cover of “Graceland”, but was excited to hear the news he will be starting work on his new album soon.

The set list:

  • I Won’t Be Found
  • The Gardener
  • Pistol Dreams
  • Troubles Will Be Gone
  • Where Do My Bluebird Fly?
  • You’re Going Back
  • Love Is All
  • Tangled in This Trampled Wheat
  • Dreamer [band]
  • King of Spain [band]
  • There’s No Leaving Now (?) [band]
  • A Lion’s Heart
  • Thrown Right at Me [feat. Amanda Bergman]
  • Drying of the Lawns [encore]
  • Like the Wheel [encore]
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About mjbutterworth

I love drinking/making coffee, making/listening to music, riding bicycles, and reading about theology. I also like blogs that talk about those things. Most of all, I love Jesus because his gospel has changed my life.
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7 Responses to Tallest Man On Earth live at Vicar St

  1. Fantastic summary! So glad you got to experience that.

    Two quibbles, though. 🙂 One, the Continent refers to Europe. You meant the Colonies, perhaps? 🙂

    Two, you once (infamously) told me that if you had been at Newport, you would have joined the crowd in booing Dylan off the stage. Hopefully, you didn’t boo the second coming of Dylan off the stage. (Sorry, Jakob.)

    • Actually I loved the songs with the full band. Dreamer sounds like a demo on the album, but live it sounded really full. And I meant the Continent, he just played at a huge festival in Barcelona.

      Btdub, as much as I stand by my statement about Newport, I’ve come to accept art can not stay static, it’s artist who continue to innovate throughout their career that are the most timeless, Dylan and Simon, too heavy influences on TTMOE, are great examples of that.

  2. Julie Donovan says:

    I still think someone should have shouted “Judas!!” when the band came out just for a laugh.

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