Where do I even begin?!
I’m a recent convert to Lissie’s music-the bluesy, folkish rock singer, who writes her songs. (She had me at ‘I stole your magazines/the one with the beauty queens/on the front/I saw her stare at me/I swear that it is mockingly..) So, for Saturday, it was all the way up for Manchester for me-and ‘press’ guest. It was at Academy Two-a little hard to find in the dark.
A ticket tout directed us-still trying to flog his tickets.
We went in. It was a gaudily bright establishment-possibly a university-complete with a bar that was in full swing. Signs were up though: Lissie not expected until 9:45 PM, due to Hurricane Desmond preventing travel. (All the way from Glasgow!) Fans were eagerly anticipating the artist in question; they even went so far as to track her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. (A lovely train picture can be found-complete with tour manager and support act.) She was delayed further.
I always knew I wanted to be a singer and performer! But I’ve also worked at an ice cream shop, at a pool, sold honey and more!
And we waited. Some left-fed up-but general consensus was “Ya snooze, ya loose!” Patience was, yes, a virtue then. They missed something really cool.
Spirits were raised when a man walks on stage, tuning a guitar on Microphone, complete with a ‘traditional’ Christmas pom-pom hat. “Lissie’s in the building” was met with cheers-and whoops, of sorts. He was apologetic, describing the storm as being a “Prick”. Ryan O’Reilly. He was too modest to say he was the support act. And wouldn’t be playing, due to imposed curfew.
I still have trouble figuring out my “genre”. I always sang and had stories that I wanted to tell. Guitar was a way to accompany myself, so being able to do my own thing & not seek out other people maybe led to being a “singer/ songwriter/ rhythm guitar player” ?
And she just walked through the stage door. No fanfare. No backing music.
In her hand was a very full glass of wine. The guitar and microphone waited. Greeted like old friends. All she needed was a spotlight, microphone, and guitar. No band.
It’s refreshing to see an artist not bothering with fancy clothes, make-up, or any pretense; it could be classed as very unusual in this industry. And yet there was something incredibly beautiful, just staring up at a stage, a room dominated by a voice.
Then came the admission of having had a little cry, just before, and no set list. (Even to chat that candidly is a rarity. Lissie would later take off her shoes, socks, and chat back to a heckler.) The crowd issued their requests. To great result. A show that was very much tailored o the consumer.
I write when I feel like I have something to say and then I enjoy co-writing with great musicians and writers I’ve met & connected with over the years.
During the second song-and I forget what, so forgive me-the guitar electrification failed. And went out of tune. And yet, Lissie carried on a Capella-with a phenomenal result. (And yes, yours truly had yet to work out, until three songs later!) If you can find the YouTube video-so many were recording-do it, because it was worth seeing. It was stunning!
And that voice. That voice. A huge, bluesy-esque tone, powerhouse, versatile enough to sing ballads and rockers, capable of making so much noise..It was just so big. And it came from a tiny women. I’m in awe. (Okay, so the perception may be a little skewed..) It’s like Anastacia, when she started out, way back when…(I’d love to hear a duet-or maybe a cover of ‘Paid My Dues’.)
Then came the articulation-why write such beautiful songs? Mountaintop Removal was written about what goes on in West Virginia-blowing the tops off, despite people having lived there for years. Lissie described it-in present tense-as something that “Pisses me off”. Then ,Daughters-from My Wild West-written about Mothers who peacefully protested.
Two glasses of wine were consumed, in total. We played until 11:30.
A few people had a little too much to drink, however: a couple had a quite vicious, verbally violent fight at front; a second women kept shouting for her new song, despite having just played it that second. (Queue shouts of ‘Shut up’ all round.)
As soon as I decided that I wasn’t really trying to make an album, I made one.
And finally, there was a hug for the front row..
A rush for Merch followed; a drunk women tried to make conversation, about ‘that’s it; she’s mainstream now..’ The poor tour manager, though; having to deal with a crowd that size.
My only feedback is that I would have liked to have heard a few more rock-heavy tunes; maybe Shameless, Cold Fish? But go and see Lissie-she is brilliant!