Academy 2 was heaving for this sold out midweek show. With an audience ranging from over eager pre-teens to the not quite so enthusiastic fifty-odds, Lissie had certainly drawn in the crowds.
There’s a lot more to this pale blonde American girl than meets the eye. And if last night’s performance is anything to go by, then her music is definitely worth exploring further
Originally scheduled for the even smaller Academy 3, Lissie seemed more than aware of the demand for tickets and even before her first strike of the guitar she thanked Manchester for welcoming her.
Lissie’s career has taken off this year.
She’s come a long way from her hometown of Illinois and has spent the majority of 2010 touring in the UK.
Her folk rock sound combined with her skilled guitar playing and lyrical craftsmanship has lent her songs to countless TV programmes and now she is back in Manchester for the second night of her latest tour.
Songs played ranged from across her back catalogue, with ‘Wedding Bells’ from her first EP opening the set. Singles ‘When I’m Alone’ and ‘Cuckoo’ got the most attention from the crowd with their upbeat tempos and catchy hooks. The latter was preceded by an anecdote about Lissie’s state of mind at the time of writing.
She’d been kicked out of school for being outspoken and she said that “I didn’t realise that there was going to be anything else for me”. The song is typical of Lissie’s eclectic music style although it’s decidedly more radio friendly than other album tracks, perhaps that’s why the crowd were more than happy to jump along to the track.
Besides her own material, Lissie offered the crowd two covers. Whilst her take on Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Waiting Around To Die’ was new to the fans, her band’s interpretation of ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ by Kid Cudi was enjoyed, and seemingly expected, by the crowd. Covers have always been something that Lissie and her band have taken in their stride with her contribution of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ to the Great British Songbook having been described as “breathtaking” by Simon Mayo.
Her appeal to such a varied crowd essentially comes down to her vocals. Her voice has a slight hint of croakiness à la Duffy, but without it being as overpowering. This was particularly evident in ‘Worried about’ and ‘Little Lovin’’ where the repetitive natures of the choruses placed all the attention onto the strength of her voice.
For such a well-received artist it’s a shame that she hasn’t had more of an impact on the UK charts. She got a lot of airplay with her most recent release but her chilled out attitude and casual style don’t really define her as an artist. There’s a lot more to this pale blonde American girl than meets the eye. And if last night’s performance is anything to go by, then her music is definitely worth exploring further.