As Tall As Lions have been honing their craft since 1998, traipsing around the country and playing to increasingly larger crowds as their fans continue to spread the ATAL gospel. After over a year of touring with their most recent album, You Can’t Take It With You, this eclectic prog-rock conglomerate celebrated the completion of their tour with an all-ages crowd at the Middle East Downstairs on May 9th in Cambridge, MA.
Despite very different performance styles, the members of As Tall As Lions are able to pull together a pretty cohesive set. Dan Nigro, a powerhouse of slithering soul and the band’s lead singer, rotates barefooted between keyboard and mainstage guitar. Saen Fitzgerald, though as a guitarist is not often acutely featured onstage, is the real tour de force of the band, doing the majority of songwriting for the group even if not as much actual singing. Julio Tavarez, the band’s bassist, is more of an onstage exhibitionist, playing up to the very front of the crowd, leading mid-show banter, taking on lead vocals for a handful of songs, and toward the end of the show even coming down into the crowd to play. Cliff Sarcon, the band’s drummer, holds the show together with precision, wind in his hair (literally), and a very sparkly kit.
Don’t be fooled by their onstage Rock Star persona - the gents from As Tall As Lions are nice as can be, wandering in and out of the crowd without pretension, chatting with long-time fans before and after the show, and thanking their tour openers, Bear Hands, with class and whiskey shots. I was lucky enough to sit down with Dan (and Saen briefly) for a bit to discuss their varied sound, their interstate travels, and handclaps.
Interviewed by: Dorise Gruber