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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Show review: The Tallest Man on Earth at Royal Oak Music Theater, July 20

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 5:31 PM

Who: The Tallest Man on Earth
When: Monday, July 20, 2015
Where: Royal Oak Music Theater

As a concert goer, there are a few things I expect. I don’t want to hear an album or a mixtape of a band’s hits. I want to know what the band is like live. I want to know that the crowd is enjoying themselves but not to the point that they are spilling copious amounts of alcohol all over your clothes and screaming the lyrics in my ear until I’m deaf. Finally, technical aspects such as sound and lighting are key to a good concert. The Tallest Man on Earth concert exceeded all of my requirements and expectations.

I would like to take this time to applaud the Royal Oak Music Theater’s sound mixers and engineers. The sound quality of the Music Theater has never been an alarming issue but their dedication to bringing the best quality for listeners all across the venue was applaudable in itself. One of the mixers even went to the middle of the venue with an iPad checking levels so the sound wasn’t just perfect from the reclusive mixing board in the back, but for the people who paid to be there. Just because you aren’t squished against the front barrier and hearing the act without amplification doesn’t mean you should have to suffer spotty quality.

Openers are a balancing act. You either tune them out until the act you paid to see takes the stage, love both acts and show equal devotion for both (which has only happened to me once in my concert career), or you like them and become a fan after the show. The opener, Hiss Golden Messenger, was an odd pairing with Tallest Man but their musical craftsmanship deserves respect nonetheless. The North Carolina band reminded me of an off-brand southern rock group only because of the lack of 15 other band members playing some form of string instrument. Their chemistry was so exhilarating that they sounded like they had been playing together for 20 years.

The time between Hiss Golden Messenger leaving and Tallest Man entering was just enough to build excitement for the main act everyone came to see. I could tell many people came to see the frontman, Kristian Mattson, but his band impressed me to no avail. Many have this stereotype of singer-songwriters that they are there to take the main spotlight and the band is there as a formality and a burden. To be honest, I thought that’s how this would be after listening to his albums for a while.

I’m so glad I was wrong. I loved the fact that Mattson dialed back his acoustic with an effect that made it almost a backing track and added a far-off echo so the band could take the lead while he sang. Also, the band was so versatile. At one point, I saw the keyboard player switch to slide guitar halfway through a tune. The violin player played electric guitar and the saxophone player played bass. What surprised me the most was that after seven years of touring, this was Tallest Man’s first show in Michigan. I hope we represented Michigan and the musical traditions we hold so dear.

If there was one thing I enjoyed most about the concert, it was the lighting design. While some acts only turn the lights on the audience during their biggest single, Tallest Man used strobes and bright beams to bring the audience. I felt like I was part of the act as the lights blinded my view. It brought us closer to the act and closer to each other. 10/10 on the lighting, ROMT.

I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the show and let the record show that if you want quality, go to a show at the Royal Oak Music Theater.

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