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Live Review: Lissie – Monday 13th December 2010 – Shepherds Bush Empire, London, UK

4 min read

Illinois folk songstress Lissie has been making quite a name for herself over this past year. After releasing her first EP in November 2009 titled, Why You Runnin’, the singer raked in the fans by the thousands and has become easily compared to the likes of iconic Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks due to her gypsy like stage presence and smoky tones.

Earlier in the year the singer released her first full length record, Catching A Tiger, a record that has gone on to become a 2010 favorite with singles When I’m Alone and Cuckoo solidifying her standing within the nostalgic folk genre.

Following her success at many of this years festivals the time was right for Lissie to embark on a tour of her own. Notching up numerous sell out shows up and down the country, the Shepherds Bush Empire and a sell out crowd welcomed Lissie with open arms for her first headline gig at the venue on Monday 13th December.

The night began with the singers support act, The Pierces, a sister act hailing from the American south west state of Alabama. Dressed in gypsy clothing and moving hypnotically around centre stage, sisters Alison and Katherine proved to be a cherry picked choice for the support slot as they showcased a number of catchy and hauntingly brilliant folk gems. Playing for a healthy 30 minutes the duo, backed by a band of 4, played tracks from their back catalogue including Love You More, We Are Stars and the famous To The Grave which was dipped heavily in psychedelic euphoria and delivered with haunting beauty.

At 9.20pm Lissie entered the stage to a rapturous applause from the 2000+ strong folk loving crowd. With very few seats left bare – mainly due to those opting to stand and be free to dance around – the crowd came alive in support of the smoky voiced starlet.

Dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a baggy t-shirt there wasn’t an ounce of diva about Lissie as she roared straight into her set, approaching the stage to the beefy, southern flavored bass lines of Wedding Bells, a song first offered on the singers EP, Why You Runnin’ and drenched in mournful tones and heartbreaking lines like the ending declaration “wedding bells will never ring for me”.

Catching A Tiger, the singers debut record that has put Lissie on the musical map, occupied most of the set throughout the evening. Worried About was delivered with perfection while In Sleep and Record Collector, two album notables, received some of the biggest applause of the night. Record Collector’s mid section also left faces in the crowd astounded as Lissie’s pitch perfect bellowing sent a charge of energy through the venue and raised people from their seats in applause and admiration for the genuine talent that makes up the Mississippi raised songbird as she laid back cool and effortlessly behind her guitar.

The singer, who has only recently hit the big time thanks to her incredible debut, made it clear to the crowd how grateful she was for the crowd that helped the show become a sell out and repeatedly showed this appreciation by garnishing the audience with gratitude throughout the performance.

Further down the set Lissie’s last single, Cuckoo was given a summer felt delivery while Bully was given an angst heavy grunge showcasing and some impressive  guitar showmanship by her fellow musicians who also showed their skills on the upbeat crowd-pleaser, Loosen The Knot.

When I’m Alone, the singers most recognizable and famous hit, was slotted into the set quite early and went down a storm with the crowd. Lissie also enlisted the vocal backing of her trusty support act, The Pierces on this one as well as bringing the sisters back on stage further down the set for the track Little Lovin’.

As well as showcasing songs of her own penmanship and sharing numerous stories with the crowd, Lissie was also generous with the inclusion of a couple of hearty covers including a spectacular folk version of Kid Cudi’s, Pursuit of Happiness and 2000 Miles from The Pretenders which was offered up in full Christmas spirit.

The night was one of pure perfection and brimming with hit after hit of vocal splendor and song writing talent in the highest form. Whether she was bringing down the house with roaring vocal precision in tracks like When I’m Alone and Loosen The Knot or jerking at the heart strings in Oh Mississippi, Lissie is talent in every meaning of the word and a talent not to be missed if ever given the chance to see the singer doing what she does so amazingly well.

Set List:

Wedding Bells
Worried About
Here Before
When I’m Alone – (with The Pierces)
Loosen The Knot
Record Collector
Everywhere I Go
In Sleep
Little Lovin’ – (with The Pierces)
Oh Mississippi
Pursuit of Happiness ( Kid Cudi cover)
Watch Over
2000 Miles (Pretenders cover)