Text by Lulu Mickelson, photos by Jeremiah Garcia
“I would be careful because I’ve got a herd of buffalo behind me. And they say they’re ready to charge,” Swedish folk singer Kristian Mattson joked with his audience on Friday night.
But Mattson, who belts out his one-man tunes under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth, was not totally kidding. Filling the North American Mammals Hall with his gruff yet passionate voice, he Tallest Man on Earth performed for buffalo, sea lions, white-tailed dear, and a sold-out crowd of adoring fans at the Natural History Museum’s First Fridays event.
May’s First Friday event opened with the full chords and harmonies of the LA-based Gamble House before featuring the dynamic Mattson, who carried the crowd as he stomped, spun, strummed, and sang out his rough and heart-wrenching songs. The performance seemed so appropriate in that large hall – just Mattson and his guitar in front of a painted austere western landscape, which accentuated the yearning in his intimate but powerful folk songs. Having toured with the likes of Bon Iver, this guy knew how to grab the attention of the evening’s chatty crowd (and the hearts of all of the women). To get a taste of the man’s charisma, you can check out his live performance on Morning Becomes Eclectic.