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First Fridays feat. The Tallest Man On Earth @ Natural History Museum 05/07/10

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It’s the end of the first week of May, and if you’re a nerd (just admit it) and like good music, then you might’ve considered yourself a hot dog wrapped in bacon the other night at this season’s fifth First Friday at the Natural History Museum. If you haven’t heard, First Fridays are a miraculous transformation in which one of the most prestigious science museums in the world transforms into a rump-bumpin’, hip-happenin’, love-makin’ nightclub. I wouldn’t be surprised if I discovered a secret switch that flips the DJ table from out underground, or maybe that certain elephant tusk you tug on twice to descend a disco ball from the ceiling.

On the May 7 show, Dr. Regina Wetzer gave a tour of the marine biology collections while Dr. David A. Caron lectured on the growth of toxic algae on the coastlines. This lecture followed what seems to be the ongoing theme of “You Know You’re Going to Die... But How?”. Last month was earthquakes, this time it’s the breakdown of your nervous system via the Red Lobster, and in June a supermassive black hole will suck all that is into nothingness. I smell a sequel for 2012...

I’ve heard of varying degrees of difficulty of finding a good spot for the bands, but from what I saw it wasn’t too bad this time around. Like always, there are the few die-hards waiting in line for an hour or two, but I attended the lecture, took a look at some dinosaurs, and leisurely made my way down to the Mammal Hall with a very nice spot. Tickets do run out quickly, though, so it is best to arrive as early as possible.

Rocking the hall this month was psychedelic-folk band Gamble House and the one-man show of the Tallest Man On Earth. Gamble House immediately drew obvious comparisons to Grizzly Bear. They sorely lacked the fragile croon of Ed Droste, though, leaving one audience member to refer to them as “Grizzly Cub.” They did, however, have a more straightforward and upbeat tone at times, which was refreshing. The Tallest Man On Earth, aka Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson, twanged away on his guitar while spouting a rough and worn vocal timbre; it seemed to complement the vastness of the room and reverberated throughout. He was not, in fact, the tallest man on Earth, but during his set it sure seemed like the Tallest Man In The Room was directly in front of me.

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Next time on June 4, Peanut Butter Wolf and Neon Indian will bring us more of a lively performance to match the overall raucous atmosphere. I just hope during the set of the latter there isn’t a luminescent Native American blocking everything I can see.

Photos by Michael Camacho for LAist
Words by James Thomer for LAist