The room was dark and full, concert-goers vibrating with anticipation as the Boston-born band, Tall Heights, entered the “Hell” stage at The Masquerade on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Despite my unfamiliarity with the band, the performance was nothing short of transformative.
The band’s on-stage friendship was immediately palpable. Duo Paul Wright and Tim Harrington met in high school and quickly grew close when they realized their incredible potential to create music. The possibility of a future transformed their relationship from acquaintances to best friends, which has been visible throughout their career. Their journey and close bond is a prominent motif throughout their oeuvre, giving it an honesty that allows listeners to immerse themselves in the band’s music.
Self-declared as “electrofolk,” Tall Heights entertained the Masquerade audience with a sound I had never heard before. Beautifully blending the comforting sounds of folk music with the newness of electronics, Tall Heights had me nostalgic for something I had yet to experience. Wright’s cello performance lifted the music off the ground and rounded it out, filling each and every corner of the room with warmth.
At the start of the concert, Wright commented on the energy of the room.
“I can feel the warmth from the audience,” he said, smiling. “Good vibes.” And that they were. Audience members danced in leggings and loose sweaters, gently moving where the music took them. There was a casual atmosphere about the venue.
Before performing the number “Murmuring State” a few songs into the show, Harrington shared the song’s backstory, rooted in the band’s earlier days performing on the Boston streets. He fondly remembered Jeff, the lemonade stand vendor who would always give them free lemonade and Advil. Their days were long, and Jeff showed them the support they needed to push through, which motivated them to write “Murmuring State” as an homage to him.
“I always think about him when we sing the third verse,” Harrington said.
The venue itself was small, so the pair took advantage of the opportunity to unplug and perform their song “Back to Autumn” without any microphones or speakers. The audience gathered in close as the duo stood at the edge of the stage and began to sing in perfect harmony, their voices blending together as one. The room was dead silent as the people swayed along. It was a connecting moment built on intimacy and trust. All was calm and I felt at peace.
During their encore performance of the popular track “Horse to Water,” Tall Heights asked the audience members to call the person next to them on their phones and put the phones face-to-face. This created a subtle ringing effect that echoed throughout the entire room. The invitation for the audience to help create the music pulled the listeners deeper into the music. Through these inclusive gestures, the musicians built a community from strangers.
Nothing about the performance seemed forced or strained. Everything was simple — an easy exchange of music and love. In our current world of grind culture and instant gratification, this concert was a necessary experience to slow down and remember the beautiful intricacies that surround us.
Tall Heights delivered on all accounts. Their unique blending of genres, incredible voices and ability to connect with the audience created a performance to remember. I left Hell that day with a satisfied soul.