review by Jenna Pool
If the early folky versions of Neil Young and David Gray were mixed together, you’d have a sense of the sound and feel of Timothy Showalter’s voice and lyric. A backlit whirlwind of long dark locks sync wildly with his voice and electric guitar. Soft bass-heavy mallets drum at the hands of the bespectacled Chris Ward. The night opens with these two grizzly bearded men in black: Strand of Oaks.
But the act people came to see has a sound all his own. “I left my heart to the wild hunt a-coming, I live until the call, And I plan to be forgotten when I’m gone.” Not likely, Kristian. Not by anyone that was in this room tonight.
Kristian Matsson, known as The Tallest Man on Earth, takes the spare dark stage with mussed hair, a tank top, and an electric guitar. Sure and steady finger picking reverberates in the air, his voice and guitar in a fine blend, not easy to pick apart. Tawny leather boots give his dance between the piano and guitar stands just the right amount of lift.
He sits down as his notes quiet, “Well I walk up on the river like it’s easier than land”, bringing us all to endearing calm with him, then stands back up with a guttural “Oh, I said I could rise / from the harness of our goals / Here come the tears / But like always / I let them go / Just let them go ah-ah oh oh.” A high-pitched swooning crowd rises to the final strum of never tired gem.
“I lost part of my voice in Portland,” he says between songs, “but I’m going to try to make it without it because the parts left are interesting too.” His lyrical depth and soft appearance seem stretched by a yearning to fill the space and reach each ear. Part sugar pixie, part bad ass, he twists and arches across each song’s stage and tosses his pick in the air at each final note. As if the deal couldn’t get any sweeter, he leaves us with a cover of Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” belting, scratching, and soothing soul that just can’t be contained in his small frame.