The Tallest Man on Earth can be anything, even a fragile-looking, tiny man, clad in a striped muscle shirt and wearing his beard with pride. His moniker very rarely represents his real physique but the peculiar choice for his alias seems more than logical after spending a night with him amongst hundreds of other people, pressed in a former vinegar industry hall and still perceiving the gig as one of the most intimate concerts ever experienced.
Yes, Kristian Mattson very likely feels like the tallest man around when he is standing on a huge stage, all on his own, overviewing the masses admiring and observing every step he is taking, every chord he is strumming and plucking, every note he is singing. He is one of the members of the rare species of musicians who do not need any pomp, any band, which comforts the voice, which carries the riffs and adds volume to the melody. All the instances that we treasure about bands, Mattson inhibits in one single person. Unleashing concentrated strength in the guitar arrangements as well as frail and grainy vocals, this young man from Sweden has mastered his trade, resembling Dylan and at the same time, setting up a modern take on the guild of singer/songwriters, bridging the gap between the generations with ease.
Seemingly effortless Mattson handles the huge audience that expect nothing less than a perfect one-man show and entertains without affectedly flattering the crowds or telling trained jokes. He is just the perfect man at the perfect time on the perfect spot and transmits a tangible feeling of homeliness even in the anonymous venue.
His tools are simple and effective, his talents already become detectable when he enters the stage and does not get lost in the vast space of the room but creates an almost magical atmosphere, which is supported by very apt lighting and a respectful and attentive audience. During the next 90 minutes the tallest man on earth becomes the centre of the universe and every song is a homage to the simplistic art of beautiful songwriting.
The set of Mattson features intense and assertive moments as much as reserved and tender ones, always reassuring the spectator that they are part of a wonderful evening that will stick with them. Mattson is a generous entertainer who plays most of his songs from the two albums Shallow Grave and The Wild Hunt, most convincingly presenting spectacularly catchy tunes like The Gardener or King of Spain, to which the audience sings along and celebrates every single note. At the end of the night people are surging out into the warm spring air of Cologne and cycle home, most content.
Review and Photos by Judith Wiemers
King of Spain:
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