Singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson aka The Tallest Man On Earth, (who in fact isn’t even the tallest man on stage) brought his show to den Atelier on Tuesday night.
Now on his fourth album, Matsson has gradually built his sound from rough solo acoustic home recordings with all the blemishes left in, to a more polished and produced album with a full band, which had its finishing touches recorded at Justin Vernon’s (Bon Iver) studio. The change is a welcome progression and sees Matsson joined by a band on tour for the first time.
In support last night was Irish singer-songwriter Adrian Crowley who grabbed the attention of the crowd with his deep baritone vocals, which seemed to evoke great visual imagery with every phrase. His vocals are reminiscent of those of Charlie Fink of Noah and The Whale, whilst his overall sound is a whole lot more sombre.
This tour might be a new set up for Matsson but there was no slow introduction to the band last night, no starting off acoustic and building up, but straight into “Wind and Walls” with full gusto. His vocals took me aback a bit with just how much he sounded like a young Bob Dylan live, but fortunately that novelty wore off quickly and I could appreciate his set on its own merits.
Moments like “1904” are where the band really helped to give his set a fuller sound as the delicate guitar riff bounced above the shuffling drums before the pedal steel came through, all perfectly complimenting each other without taking the focus off the song.
Throughout the evening the band were hopping on and off the stage as Matsson mixed up his set with many solo tracks, like the finger picking beauty of “Love Is All”.
The stage setup became more fluid as the set went on, with moments of just Matsson being joined by violin or the subtlest of electric guitars guiding him through the hushed silence of the crowd on “The Wild Hunt”.
Matsson’s new fully realised sound is a good addition to his set and on “King Of Spain” it really came to the fore as the energy from the band provided the biggest reaction from the crowd.
“Dreamer” saw him lose the guitar altogether and take up front man duties, before finishing on “Like The Wheel” with saw the band huddled together at the back of the stage forming an acapella four part harmony.
With Matsson showcasing his full band show for the first time in Luxembourg it was refreshing that at no point did the band take any of the limelight. They were a backing band in every aspect of the meaning, they were there to compliment the sound, not take over and that’s exactly what they did, which is not as easy as it sounds. By keeping the essence of his sound, Matsson has managed to move forward whilst taking his fans along with him for the ride.
2/2/16 – den Atelier