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Lissie: Live in Nottingham – Review

“I want to do is listen to the album again and again, and that’s always a positive for an album release show.”

Lissie Live Review

Lissie is an American country artist from Illinois and a musician I have always admired. Since the release of her debut album Catching A Tiger in 2010, she has always been an act that’s been on my radar. However, it wasn’t until she dropped her sophomore record Back To Forever in October 2013 that she really came to fruition, especially with the record’s lead single Further Away (Romance Police). The track had substance and euphoria instilled throughout it, and that made me fall in love with her even more so.

Tonight, Lissie returned to Nottingham performed tracks from her fifth studio album Carving Canyons at Rough Trade, one of my favourite venues in Nottingham because of its rawness and intimacy across the venue. It’s a place in which Lissie would blossom in, and so my expectations for the show were high. However, that intimacy can affect artists if they’re not naturally talented, so the venue can really separate the men from the boys, so I hoped Lissie could really showcase her skills in the strongest possible way.

So tonight, Lissie only performed six songs as part of her stripped-back set, all of those came from her fifth album, Carving Canyons, an album which I love and appreciate very much so. I’ve never had to review a set as short as this before and so I’ll do my best, but I think that the first thing to say is that despite me wanting to hear some older tracks in her discography, Lissie curated her setlist very well. She chose what I believe are the six strongest songs from the album and most of which showed off her vocal range very well indeed. The vast majority of the time, she reached some incredible notes and was vocally strong throughout, even channelling Stevie Nicks in places, which as a massive Fleetwood Mac fan is always great to see. The only major exception for me was during Flowers, the lead single from Chasing Canyons, in which she was off for multiple parts of the song and never really recovered. Her pitchiness carried on through Sad but only this time she brought it back and sounded fantastic, especially with some impressive vocals from herself and her backing vocalist (I never caught her name, unfortunately) during Chasing The Sun, and there was one more highlight in which I’ll speak about later on. 

Lissie’s interaction with the audience was brilliant. She made the intimate setting of Rough Trade even more charming and inviting with her stories about the album and parts of her career. She explained that parts of the album was about grief about a relationship that deteriorated during the 2020 lockdown and her at a loss due to not being able to work or perform during that time, and hearing those stories about each track on the record made me cherish it even more so than I already do, and for an album release tour, that’s the best way to go about it, so that your audience know what really went into making your art. 

The best part of the show for me by far was the incredibly flawless band chemistry. It showed off Lissie’s poetic lyricism during the performance while it still being ever present. The guitarist did a fantastic guitar solo for Sad which worked very well, and also helped with the slightly underwhelming first part of the performance. Their chemistry with Lissie was a real standout and by far the strongest overall factor of the whole set. The best part however was when they performed Night Moves, the elegance of the track is amazing on its own, but is much more elevated in a live setting, and with Lissie’s vocals, the band’s live capabilities and everyone’s chemistry with each other, it ended up with the track being performed with such charm and poise and ended the show on a very strong note.

Overall, Lissie did a fine performance which showcased her album in the best of ways. She was humble with her stories, had mostly excellent vocals and had a band that collaborated with her very well. The disappointing vocal slump during Flowers and Sad was certainly disappointing but was quickly forgotten about once she got back on track, and after watching her set, all I want to do is listen to the album again and again, and that’s always a positive for an album release show.

Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Lissie’s fifth studio album Carving Canyons is out now. 

Setlist:

  1. Unravel 
  2. Flowers 
  3. Sad
  4. Chasing The Sun
  5. Carving Canyons
  6. Night Moves

Tickets for live shows are on sale HERE