This show was as much about movement, subtle and overt, as it was about music. Kristian Matsson (aka Tallest Man on Earth) sat on a small stool at the back of the Rickshaw Stop stage last Wednesday. He leaned forward in his seat and his fingers began working in precise and rapid movements on his six strings. Slowly, slowly he stood up and moved toward the microphone.
As he sang, he arched his eyebrows and furrowed his brow, looking up longingly or, more often, out into the audience. He shifted his gaze around and–I think–everyone thought he was looking at them, singing to them, for some of the show. Stepping back from the microphone between songs or verses, he’d move to his right or left and up to the edge of the stage, close to the audience. He’d lean forward, bringing his face even closer to the audience.
With clear and nuanced, though strained in his trademark-style, vocals and rhythmic and precise guitar playing, the music filled the small club. With tracks off of his excellent and addictive full length debut, Shallow Grave, as well as tunes off of his self-titled EP, he played full set that only seemed too short.
A one-man show succeeds or fails on engaging the audience. Tallest Man on Earth engaged the audience from beginning to end both through music and movement.
Herman Dune started the show. I found them to be like a less wry-witted and less flamboyantly performing–and more awkward, not particularly in the good way–version of Jonathan Richman.