Friday, July 27, 2012

Strand of Oaks/Tallest Man on Earth show: July 26 2012, 9:30 Club, Washington D.C.

Last night, my sister Kristen and I went to the 9:30 club to see the Tallest Man on Earth. I'm not very familiar with his work but thanks to Daytrotter and I Am Fuel, You Are Friends (or is it just Fuel/Friends?) Summer mixes, I had access to a number of songs. And then of course there's which is where I listened to even more.

I also found that the opening band, Strand of Oaks, did a Daytrotter session back in 2010, so we checked that out the night before, too.

So we were ready.

We had intended to drive to a Metro station and Metro in to the show, but I found out that TMOE (as we called him (privately)) didn't go on until 9:30 (is that a thing at the 9:30 club? is that why it's called that?) and that the last Metro train left at 11:44. And we didn't want to have to leave if (we (I) reasoned) he was winding down a 2 1/2 hour set. So we utilized the OFFICIAL 9:30 CLUB PARKING LOT because we're super important (read: had $15).

We got there with about 5 minutes to spare before Strand of Oaks started, which was perfect.

The lights dimmed, a VERY bearded man and a slightly less bearded man took the stage. The bearded man was the singer and the slightly less bearded man was the drummer.

I think that the set would have been more enjoyable if there weren't so many people talking. And there were also a couple people who were WAY into the set, like mockingly so. Wooing and dancing and all that, but with an air of "isn't it funny that I'm doing this?" which really bugged me.

The songs were well-sung and very passionate. I enjoyed them a lot. I ESPECIALLY enjoyed the drummer. His additions really added something to the songs. Something almost tribal. It was lovely. My favorite song of the set was "Diamond Drill", which kicks off his latest album Dark Shores which you can pick up here.  And here's a picture of them playing it!

When they played it, the song had a very complex and uptempo drum part that isn't on this recording, but this will give you an idea.

So then they said their goodnights and it was 9:15. We all sort of shifted around. The people that were not interested in supporting the opening act but wanted to make it very clear that they love TMOE moved up front. My sister turned to me at 9:29 and said "It's 9:29" and I made a joke about how he USED to be called "The Most Punctual Man on Earth" and right as I said that, the lights dimmed and the show started.

So I guess you can still call him that.

This guy's voice. I'm telling you. He is (ironically) a small man, but his voice is that of the man on the bill. It's HUGE and malleable and beautiful and rough. And we were watching him have the audience completely on board and it was like he was just having a good time up there.

He played guitar for the most part, but sat down for 2 or 3 piano songs.

"I'm not going to give a speech, and I'm not an MC, so I'm going to play piano"

The crowd was MOSTLY subdued (in a good way. Subdued as if entranced by the power of his playing. Which, let's face it, was the case) but there was raucous applause and some singing along.

He played a lot from his new album, There's No Leaving Now. Which you can buy here! But he also played a lot of old favorites including "The Gardener", "Where Do My Bluebird Fly" and "King of Spain".

It was an incredible night. I'll leave you with a couple songs that I have. And some pictures.

If you get a chance to go see this guy, do it.

The Tallest Man on Earth - I Won't Be Found (Daytrotter Session)
The Tallest Man on Earth - King of Spain

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