Tracks Monkeys With Lasers

The Tallest Man On Earth @ Bush Hall – 15/03
April 2, 2010, 5:13 pm
Filed under: gigs | Tags: , ,

A belated review, perhaps, but it is a review nonetheless!

After that last show of his in London, which I gave the title of ‘Gig of the Year’ to, it was a simple decision to make when I heard tickets were on sale for only his second UK show. After the Barden Boudoir performance, I couldn’t wait to see him again, especially as the show was to be held just a few weeks before the release of his second album, ‘The Wild Hunt’.

Bush Hall was another venue on the ever shortening list of places-I’ve-never-been-for-a-gig and after meeting up with friends for a drink, we got to the venue. And what a unique venue it is. Set out like a beautiful old ballroom, the venue seemed deceptively large to me as it felt a bit like Shepherd’s Bush Empire.. but without the different levels. In fact, it is a relatively small venue which was only made even more bizarre by the fact that it was only half full on our arrival and almost every single person there was sat on the floor (something you probably wouldn’t do at 90% of the venues I’ve been to in London), creating an unusual atmosphere before the gig had even begun.

The only support on the night came from Alessi’s Ark, a band I had not heard of but one of my campanions had seen before. They had a simple setup with just Alessi herself on acoustic guitar and vocal duties, backed up by an electric guitar/bass depending on the song. The electric guitar backing worked a lot better for me as the bass seemed to.. well, bassy, when it was being used and so overpowered the gentle guitar and vocals that Alessi herself provided. The songs themselves were all rather beautiful and the seeming naivety/bemusement that Alessi had at being there only added to the charm. Her voice was easily the focal point of the songs and were the perfect vehicle for her lyrics. A nice surprise opening to the evening.

After that, it was straight on to the main act of the night with Kristian Matsson, AKA The Tallest Man On Earth, taking to the stage to raptuous applause and opened the set with the title track off the new album, The Wild Hunt, which was accompanied by a whole load of foot stomping from the man himself and kicked the set off brilliantly.

From there on, he launched into the title track from his first album ‘Shallow Graves’ and the rest of the night was the perfect mix of songs off both albums with old favourites such as ‘I Won’t Be Found’ and ‘Honey Won’t You Let Me In’ mixed in with new tracks like ‘You’re Going Back’ and ‘Troubles Will Be Gone’. Every single song sounded great though and was played with a bizarre intensity compared to the previous show but Kristian still used the whole stage to his advantage, walking from the back of the stage to the crowd and stomping around, always returning to the microphone just in time to spit out his next lyric.

There was something different about this gig though that I just couldn’t put my finger on. Kristian seemed a lot more intense or angry than the last show and it was difficult to tell whether this was genuine or part of his act on the night. Some lyrics seemed almost a cry of despair rather than being sung while others were spat out with real venom at times. He got into a few little slanging matches with some audience members as well and seemed genuinely peeved when people talked while he tuned up between tracks. As I said, I can’t say whether this was part of the act on the night but it felt weirdly different to the last time I saw him.

Despite that, the show was still really enjoyable. The two obvious crowd favourites in ‘The Gardener’ and ‘King of Spain’ were as fun as ever and got the crowd going and almost got them singing along to the former. The set ended with a duet with one Kristian’s female friends joining him on stage which worked really well with the both of them bouncing around the stage before reuniting at the same mic for the vocals.

The one song encore of the night, which you can hear below, rounded the night off and was, supposedly, his newest song and was one I didn’t recognise, even having heard the new album. It was a beautiful downbeat number which had the crowd completely mesmerised and made a fitting finale.

Overall, The Tallest Man On Earth yet again commanded the stage brilliantly. I’ve still yet to see any artist have an audience so hooked and eating out the palm of their hand like he does. But there was something about the gig that made it slightly less enjoyable than less time. Perhaps it was the anger/torment thing he had going on, perhaps it was the dickhead who was filming the show and kept pushing me out the way the entire time or maybe it was just the setup of the stage (with the high Bush Hall stage making him slightly more detached than the Barden’s Boudoir one with the crowd on three sides of the stage) that made it like this. Whatever it was, it was still a top gig and I look forward to him returning to these shores later on in the year.

Especially as he’ll be bringing his banjo next time..

The Tallest Man On Earth – untitled new track (ive)

Daytrotter Sessions – The Tallest Man On Earth
December 3, 2009, 2:01 pm
Filed under: music | Tags: , ,

Another favourite act of mine, The Tallest Man On Earth did one of the Daytrotter sessions a few months ago.

I’ve written about this guy in the past as I love his album from last year, ‘Shallow Graves’ and have been lucky enough to see him play at Barden’s Boudoir back in September.

His session consists of the following tracks;

1) This Wind – from the album (reworked)

2) Shallow Grave – from the album (reworked)

3) I Want You – Bob Dylan cover

4) I Won’t Be Found – a beautiful version of the album track on piano

Download it from Rapidshare

Buy tickets for his London show in March from WeGotTickets

Some Videos Wot I’ve Been Watching #2

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis

I saw these guys at the Flowerpot in Camden a few months back and thought they were one of the most fun acts I’d seen in a long time. Every now and again I give their album a listen and it’s impossible not to dance or clap along. This video shows a wee bit of just how good they are.

The Tallest Man On Earth

Another artist I love and have fallen in love with even more since seeing him live and this is easily one of the best tracks off the album. Want/need a second album from him soon!

Oxygen Thief

One of the more unique artists I’ve seen in recent times, I really enjoy his acousto-metal sound and can’t wait to hear some of the new stuff he’s penning at the moment.

Johnny Flynn

Yet to see this guy live but I only discovered his album a few months ago and it’s really been growing on me. Am sure I’ll catch him in the near future..

The Tallest Man On Earth @ Barden’s Boudoir – 09/09
September 15, 2009, 5:31 pm
Filed under: gigs | Tags: , , ,

I’d only got into The Tallest Man On Earth (TTMOE from now on out of sheer laziness) a few months before this gig after a few friends had been talking about how much they were looking forward to the show. So I took a bit of a punt and got myself a ticket to the show and a copy of his album from last year “Shallow Graves” which has subsequently become one of my most played albums since I first got it as I fell in love with it almost immediately; the brilliant lyrics sung with a slightly different voice and amazing guitarwork to go with it. As such, I’d been looking forward to the show and was very pleased with the decision to have got a ticket to see him on his first UK tour.

Barden’s Boudoir, on Stoke Newington Road, was yet another little venue I’d yet to frequent. After making the trip up North from London Bridge (after a slight kerfuffle with the bus driver closing the doors on me after my friend had already jumped off) we got to the venue via the pub and the first 30 minutes of the England match. Now Barden’s Boudoir wasn’t the most conspicuous of venues with just the door to the venue coming off the road. However, we finally found it and made our way in.

Now the inside of the venue itself was peculiar to say the least and incorporated possibly the worst layout of any venue I’ve been to with the stage not at one end of the venue but was in the middle and pressed up against one of the walls meaning that very few people could actually stand in front of the stageĀ  and had to instead stand around the sides. This worked on one level as it meant the stage was surrounded with people but just felt strange. The venue was also one of the darkest I’ve ever been to and for ‘atmosphere’ I’m sure some of the halogen lights in the ceiling just had bits of coloured plastic covering them.

Anyhoo, after ariving a little bit late, we got there part way through the first support act, Holly Throsby. Sadly, with the stage layout and my being ‘vertically challenged’ I could see sweet FA of what was actually going on on stage (and as such got no pics) but her music was rather wonderful with gentle, minimalist, finger picked guitars underlying some beautiful, fragile vocals and all this was backed up with some low key drums/accordian/xylophones. I’d never heard of her before and was rather impressed but this was sadly spoilt by the fact that almost three quarters of the crowd talked the way through the entire set. This was a real shame as, from what I heard, it was a great little opening set but the talking spoilt it for those of us trying to listen to it but also for Holly herself.

After her set, and a quick change of place in the crowd from myself, the second support band took to the stage in the form of This Frontier Needs Heroes, a brother and sister act from the States. They had a very simple sound with just an acoustic guitar, a bit of hand clapping and some nice vocals and it all started out quite nicely and promising. After two or three songs, however, I suddenly realised that all the songs sounded pretty much the same and were all a little bit boring. The extended chats between tracks also got a little tedious and a little bit sickly and disturbing for a brother/sister act.

After all this though, the main act of TTMOE (otherwise known as Kristian Matsson) took to the stage to raptuous applause before receving silence from the crowd (at last!) as he launched into his first number. Despite all the problems with the venue, it’s fair to say that on the night, Kristian owned it. Bar a few people, the crowd could only stand there mesmerised by the performance and it’s easy to see why.

TTMOE was another of the guitarists I’ve seen over the last six months where his pure technical ability as a guitarist completely blew me away as he made playing look so so easy. At times, thanks to the tunings he used, he even managed to play one handed and all of this while singing in his rather distinct voice which, it should be said, sounded much better live than on any of his records. He also had a very unusual way of performing in that he would seemingly sing to just person in the crowd as he would make eye contact with you and carry on performing. He would also play up to anyone with a camera occasionally ‘posing’ for them as he carried on playing.

The setlist itself was a good mix of ‘older’ songs from his original EP, such as ‘It Will Follow The Rain’ and songs of his album such as my favourites ‘Where Do My Bluebirds Fly?’, ‘The Sparrow And The Medicine’ and (what turned out to be the crowd singalong) ‘The Gardener’ and on top of this, there were a few new tracks (or ones I didn’t recognise anyway!).

I thought this was an incredible set as I’ve not seen a solo artist have a crowd hooked quite like Kristian did and there really isn’t a better word to describe the set than mesmerising. It was a shame the supports were spoilt/weren’t great and that the venue itself wasn’t all that good but TTMOE himself definitely made it all worth it in the end. I can only hope that he comes back soon!

The Tallest Man On Earth – The Gardener (live)

Podcast #17

The 17th podcast, featuring;

Laurent Garnier – No Music, No Life
The Tallest Man On Earth – The Sparrown And The Medicine
Mark Fernando – Visiting The City
Rancid – Last One To Die (Acoustic)
Miike Snow – Silvia
Iconoclasts – Pretenders
Danananakroyd – Black Wax
Memory Cassette – Asleep At A Party
Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse – Revenge (ft. Wayne Coyle)
Crocodiles – I Wanna Kill
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – Going Up The Country
She Keeps Bees – Gimmie
TV On The Radio – Staring At The Sun (Live)
Emmy The Great – We Almost Had A Baby
Noah And The Whale – Blue Skies
Dan Deacon – Slow With Horns / Run For Your Life

Download from here

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