As a pop/rock artist, Lissie is accustomed to performing with a band… a really solid, hard-rocking band. So, for her to step on stage by herself, with some borrowed gear, and power through 12 tunes was an admirable feat. The fact that she did so in such a casually intimate setting as 3rd and Lindsley’s Backstage room probably took a bit of the edge off (and her Lissie-branded Mezcal took a bit more). The space — with its sofas and coffee tables — made the night feel more like a house concert than a bar show. And, right at the top, Lissie made it an affair among friends by saying, “We’re all in this together.”
And we were, for the first of two sold-out Nashville shows. (Not a bad showing for someone who came to town for a meeting, tacked on some writing sessions, and topped it all off with a couple gigs!)
What was truly great about Lissie’s solo set was that her powerful voice didn’t have to compete with multiple guitars and her intricate phrasing didn’t get lost in a rhythmic shuffle. As the evening progressed, it was hard not to imagine going one step further because Lissie’s songs would take on a whole other life if they were ever reworked for and staged in a softer environment — with acoustic guitar, upright bass, strings, and piano. (Paging Dave Palmer!)
On this night, though, Lissie offered up samples from throughout her catalog, as well as three new works-in-progress. Though it took her a couple of songs to find her footing without her crew, by the middle of the set, she was trucking along just fine with compelling renditions of “When I’m Alone,” “They All Want You,” “Mountaintop Removal,” and “Everywhere I Go.” Always one to throw in an interesting and unexpected cover tune, Lissie laid into Danzig’s “Mother,” which she recently recorded for a video game, and the crowd went wild. Still, she topped even that with the show’s closer — and one of her all-time strongest cuts — “In Sleep.”
Though her playing time was limited by the party band starting up in the main room, Lissie made the most of what she had to work with, borrowed Fender and all. The fact that she mixed and mingled with fans after the show — particularly the couple who drove more than three hours from west Tennessee — made the night that much more intimate and friendly.
Photo by Adam R. Brown.