Left – Kristian Matsson. Photo – Cameron Wittig
It’s hard to think of a better place to be on a hot stormy night in Brisbane than inside a cool, dark theatre listening to top-notch music. Swedish act The Tallest Man On Earth, preceded by Australian singer and songwriter Gordi, certainly delivered on transporting Wednesday night’s audience not only out of the heat, but out of the humdrum of regular life, taking them on a near-magical journey crafted through emotional, clever music.
Gordi took to the stage first, excited to proclaim the audience to be her largest in Brisbane to date. It wasn’t hard to see why she might gather increasingly large crowds, as her powerful voice coupled acoustic guitar filled QPAC’s Concert Hall.
Playing without her regular band, the young Melbournian initially showed a few nerves, but warmed endearingly throughout, telling humorous stories between songs and taking an uncooperative looping machine in her stride. Mixing popular tracks Can We Work It Out and Nothing’s As It Seems with a moving cover of Courtney Barnett’s Avant Gardener and yet-to-be-released song Heaven I Know, Gordi’s short set left the audience wanting more.
With the crowd well warmed, The Tallest Man On Earth took to the stage to excited applause. Famed for his darkly clever folky music and Dylan-esque singing, singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson brings a nearly uncomfortable level of energy to his stage performance as The Tallest Man On Earth, making it impossible for his audience to disengage.
His physicality is that of a tightly wound spring bouncing across the stage, as he draws on a seemingly bottomless well of emotion to fuel his performance. Bringing to life the characters and stories found in his equally sad, hopeful and humorous songs, Matsson had the audience on tenterhooks as he lifted them with rollicking melodies and dropped into moments of silence.
Accompanied for some songs by a band of stellar artists on keys, violin, guitar, pedal steel and drums, while at other times singing solo, The Tallest Man On Earth delighted the audience with hits like The Gardener, 1904 and King of Spain. While these were each very well received, show highlights came in the form of quieter numbers, with Matsson simply sat on a chair with an acoustic guitar. One such moment came in the form of a beautiful rendition of Rivers, which provided a moment of pause for the audience to soak up the talent of The Tallest Man On Earth and appreciate their luck at witnessing this very special artist on a rain soaked summer evening.
After nearly three hours of music including an encore, The Tallest Man On Earth departed with uplifting The Dreamer followed by a hauntingly quiet performance of Like The Wheel. The crowd showed their appreciation with a standing ovation before pouring out of the venue and back into the steamy night, experiencing the world with eyes and ears refreshed by the musical majesty they had just witnessed.
QPAC in association with Handsome Touring present
The Tallest Man On Earth
Venue: Concert Hall | QPAC, Cultural Centre, South Bank, Brisbane
Date: 7 December 2016
Bookings: qpac.com.au | 136 246