Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gig review: Lissie does funny things to my stomach in Shepherd's Bush

No-one is supposed to be this good this early in their career.

This time last year, Elisabeth "Lissie" Maurus was playing her sun-bleached roots'n'rock to small clubs of 60 people. Tonight she's in the 3,000-capacity Shepherd's Bush Empire. It should have been Wembley.

Why? Stage presence, for one thing. For such a slight young singer, Lissie attacks her songs with an almost reckless vitality, her wispy blonde locks thrashing around in the spotlight. She could teach Willow Smith a thing or two, that's for sure.

Then there's her voice. A raw, unpolished powerhouse, two parts Southern drawl to one part Californian dreamer. When she sings, "run, ragged and wrecked," on Bully, you feel all that exhaustion and panic. The ad libs on When I'm Alone are pure, unbridled passion.

Third, there's heart. Not for Lissie the efficient, soulless stage patter of "Hello [insert name of town], here are my hits and thank you, goodnight". She downs tequila, shares her most intimate songwriting secrets and reveals a bewildered gratitude at the last 12 months. "Just having 2 guitars is a new stage for me," she grins as a roadie (namechecked, naturally) straps a Gibson Les Paul over her shoulder. "This is just mighty special, thank you guys."

She shouldn't thank us. She's the one doing all the hard work. The room soars with music and movement. And the audience are clearly enraptured by this lithesome, charismatic oddball. When she exits the stage, they keep singing the coda to Little Lovin' until she bounds back out, grinning ear to ear.

Having practically run out material, the encore features her gnarly, grungy take on Kid Cudi's Pursuit Of Happiness (here's a video - it's aweseome), an untitled lament introduced as the "first song I wrote after moving to California" and a Christmassy cover of The Pretenders' 2000 Miles which "we worked out in our hotel room last night".

Writing this on the cold, dark commute to work, it's hard to believe the gig actually took place last night. Warm of heart and sunny of disposition, Lissie was a focussed beam of California sunshine aimed directly at the big winter chill. It was a shock to see frost, not palm trees, when we ventured outside.

No-one is supposed to be this good this early in their career.

:: Photos from Flickr, courtesy of Wheelzwheeler (top image) and Alessio Micheleni (other concert images). Setlist picture "artist's own".

Labels: , ,

<< Home

Newer Posts ::: Older Posts

© 2014 Discopop Directory | Contact editor@discopop.co.uk | Go to the homepage