Published Sep 27, 2010That Kristian Matsson sold out a Toronto venue under his musical moniker the Tallest Man on Earth for a second time this year was one of a few nice surprises that occurred during his return. On the strength of last year's jaw-droppingly sincere debut The Shallow Grave and this year's likewise The Wild Hunt, the singer-songwriter from Dalarna, Sweden has built quite a rabid following that was on full display whenever he paused to let the crowd take over lead vocals. It happened regularly, but the interaction between artist and audience, for once, wasn't an obnoxious experience, despite taking away from the one thing that everyone was there for: that voice, which is like hearing a young, coherent Bob Dylan with an ear-to-ear grin on his face.
The intimacy Matsson created with his guitar and that booming voice of his had the similar kind of campfire warmth as his recordings, but seeing him pluck his way through his multifaceted arrangements had the feeling he was surrounded by a proper band. Dispensing his catalogue evenly, which included "Like the River" and "The Dreamer" from his brand new EP, Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird, Matsson had the magnetism to draw every spectator in with his flawless renditions.
But as a compelling performer, he didn't hesitate from throwing in a few covers. He entered the Top 40 for a charming take on Natasha Bedingfield's chart-topping sing-along, "These Words," and used Sade's "By Your Side" as a bridge during The Wild Hunt standout "You're Going Back," which, because of his vocal rawness, actually flopped in comparison to Beachwood Sparks' beloved cover of the same song. But such a frivolous attempt couldn't spoil a performance that will undoubtedly lead to a third straight sell-out whenever the Tallest Man on Earth next graces our city with his presence.