This Tallest Man On Earth and Phil Cook article was written by Sam Jourdan, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Gavin Wells
Folk music is not a genre which traditionally commands an enormous live audience. Clearly, there are exceptions, but the image conjured is of a lone musician with a Guitar playing to a small room. Given this, it was odd to find the Roundhouse absolutely packed out, with an audience of 5,000 watching a couple of folk musicians.
Up first was the sole support, Phil Cook. Cook took to the stage alone, merely a man, Guitar, and a stool. The crowd’s apprehension towards the artist was palpable, but as soon as Cook started playing their worries immediately departed. Cook commanded the audience with his combination of slightly-awkward banter, humble demeanour and excellent chilled-out folk. It was apparent that this was not the sort of venue Cook usually performed in, but he successfully achieved a difficult feat; making the Roundhouse feel like an intimate venue.
Headliners The Tallest Man On Earth stormed the stage shortly afterwards, with head-honcho Kristian Matsson being supported with a full band; including a Guitarist, two Keyboardists, and a Violinist. The band burst into ‘Moonshiner’, followed by new-album track ‘Fields Of Our Home’. After several songs, the band left the stage, leaving Matsson alone on stage.
Similarly to Phil Cook, Matsson had the ability to make the Roundhouse feel like a smaller venue than it was, but simultaneously carried an enormous amount of energy. Matsson danced around the stage, resplendent in a pure-white outfit; clearly a musician in love with his craft and the art of performance. This positive energy was seen throughout the entire set. “This is the biggest indoor venue I’ve ever played,” said Matsson, grinning from ear to ear. The band re-joined after a time, to play some of Tallest Man On Earth’s biggest hits.
After a short encore-break, the band retook the stage for ‘The Dreamer’, which saw Matsson abandoning his Guitar towards the start for the first time in the night; leaping around the stage with as much furore as in the beginning of the set. Epic set-closer ‘Like The Wheel’ saw acoustic and heavy electric playing in tandem, creating a truly majestic soundscape.
Overall, Phil Cook and Tallest Man On Earth played a collection of brilliant sets, ultimately showcasing the importance and success of alternative genres.