The Tallest Man on Earth put on an incredible performance that will be very difficult to put into words, at Newport Folk Festival on Sunday. Being about the third to last artist of the festival, his set ran into Jackson Browne‘s headlining performance; Kristian Matsson performed on perhaps one of the smallest stages and brought a crowd far too large for the small stage to handle. As Tune-Yards was finishing her set (where Kristian could be spotted watching secretly on the sidelines) crowds were already beginning to push their way in. Crowds got so large that state police were brought in to keep the fire lanes open, and unfortunately had to aggressively force many people trying to catch a desperate glimpse of Kristian, out from the lanes and into the rainy uncovered crowds surrounding the tent.
If you have not witnessed Kristian in action, it is something that stays in one’s mind forever. His presence is unchallenged. He pounds through each song, making it seem effortless to play such beautiful music as he switches between at least 5 guitars and a piano.
At Newport he chose mainly from his newest piece of (phenomenal) work, There’s No Leaving Now, but also a few songs from his EP, Sometimes The Blues is Just a Passing Bird, one from his first album (“Where Do My Bluebirds Fly” from Shallow Graves) as well as his theme song of sorts “The King of Spain” off of The Wild Hunt during which Kristian paused to let the whole crowd sing a long for a verse or two. An intense moment- the rain pattering on the tent combined with the crowd singing loudly as if to assure Kristian that they knew each word to “The King of Spain” was something every person present would never forget.
Although a Tallest Man on Earth performance is difficult to describe, it is as you would dream it do be when listening to his music. Kristian is perfection, in his music and in his total presence.