If there’s one thing I took away from Lissie’s show in Seattle last night, it’s this: Lissie Maurus is the kind of rock star every little girl should want to grow up to be. And not just because she’s a badass female musician (which she is). But because she’s a killer musician with incredible stage presence - and an undeniable force to be reckoned with.
Touring in support of the recently released Back To Forever, Lissie and her bandmates opened the evening with a stirring rendition of “Bully,” off 2010’s Catching A Tiger, before dipping into a new batch of songs.
In truth, you might not expect the short blonde that took the stage to be capable of belting out the powerful tracks you hear on those albums live. Then she takes the stage, opens her mouth, and blows your mind.
The set up at a Lissie show is very simple, the majority of the focus being Lissie and her rhythm guitar, battling for stage time in a tornado of strings and headbanging baby hairs. It’s a battle so intense that just two songs into the set, the singer was asking if the heat could be turned down a little more.
“I know it’s cold outside, but are you guys hot?” Lissie asked the crowd. “I am so hot. We’re collectively hot.”
There’s something really special about Lissie’s ability to deliver both slow-burning ballads and raucous rock and roll anthems. A hybrid of Jewel and Janis Joplin, there’s both a softness and hard rock edge to the way Lissie performs - and it’s a lethal combination you can’t help but be mesmerized by.
Other tracks from the new album included “Sleepwalking,” “The Habit,” and “Love In The City.” And while every song seemed to get the blood flowing, a high point came in Lissie’s emotionally-charged take on “They All Want You,” - which found the singer whispering a tender tale of unrequited love at the bar.
Watching Lissie live, kind of makes you feel like she's from another era; something that may be attributed that she’s not some teenager singing about things she doesn’t know. At thirty years old, she’s lived a little life. The result is stronger, more realized storytelling that’s both relatable AND believable. It’s this balance that makes her music accessible to both the 20-somethings and 50-somethings in the room.
It’s worth noting the singer earned major points for her knowledge of local sports - as she appeased the crowd with banter about the Seahawks during a short tuning break.
“I heard you guys have a pretty good football team,” offered the Illinois-born singer - a remark met with squeals of approval. “I don’t know much about any of that - I guess I’m a Bears fan? But I heard you might go to the Super Bowl? Go Hawks!”
The gesture was more than appreciated in a city where professional sports are more often known for not existing (or barely existing, in many cases). The sentiment seemed to make Lissie’s transition into “Shameless” that much more lively - even if she had to remind a pocket of stiff-armed Seattleites to “clap your fucking hands.”
They listened - and the swaying and clapping commenced.