All the way from Sweden, The Tallest Man on Earth graced Cape Town with a really beautiful show last Friday, supported by a lovely set from Beatenberg.
Things kicked off a little later than advertised but that happens in Cape Town…
“Hello, we’re Beatenberg” said vocalist/guitarist Matthew Field, ‘that’s Rob on the drums, that’s Ross on the bass…and I’m trembling’. Their sincerity is always endearing; charming as ever, their performance was really lovely. The crowd was really supportive too, cheering loudly after each song and giggling at every funny anecdote of Matthew’s.
I’ll say one thing for hipsters, no matter how much they tend to get on my nerves, their support is invaluable at events like these – selling out a show featuring a relatively underground international artist in an intimate, seated venue (and with an interval during the performance, something so unusual it made me feel really uncultured) is very impressive. I hope Cape Town can look forward to many more events in this vein.
So, I know I just knocked them, but I still kinda feel the need to assert my hipster cool and mention that I had actually heard of The Tallest Man on Earth before his South African tour was announced last year (I listen to loads of Scandinavian music, Swedish in particular, so had come across him)…I can’t, however, claim to have been much of a fan, but then I’m not a fan of Bob Dylan and there have been many comparisons between the folk legend and the ‘gravel-voiced’ Swede.
But watching the man perform totally converted me – the strange Swedish song that played as he came out onto the stage (I have no idea what it was, but I don’t think it was one of his) caught my attention immediately, and his very heart-felt greetings to the crowd meant I was won over pretty much instantly. His voice is still not my favourite, but it works.
I’m usually horribly intolerent of the whole guy-with-a-guitar thing, but Kristian Matsson kept things interesting the whole time. His really impressive guitar-playing and his earnest, funny comments – “I do a lot of whining in these songs, but I’m actually really happy to be here” – meant even watching him tune every one of his many guitars before playing them was entertaining.
The highlights for me were crowd-favourite (and one of the few songs I recognised) King of Spain, his response to repeated cheering from a super-enthusiastic male fan (jumping off the stage, walking out into the crowd and, when the lights went up, blowing kisses all around the room), the surprise appearance of and subsequent duet with his wife for final song (before 2 encores) Thrown right at me, and when he played us a song called Little Brother. He introduced it by saying it was from the new album and no-one had ever heard it before and the crowd went crazy, to which he responded “you don’t know it’s good yet…” and wow, it really was special.
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