Review + Photography by Cain Suleyman

At an old cinema in Dalston, London, hundreds of music lovers descend through the horrid rain on a Monday to bare witness to one of music’s purest voices. The spectacular Lissie headlines EartH, one of the greatest venues in London. Only on this occasion, the strings wouldn’t be cutting through her fingers. Instead the keys would be pressed by another’s hands as we see the beautiful contrast and translation as we hear her most familiar songs in a retrospective tour, translated on piano.

Lissie

Before we were treated to the beauty of Lissie, we were treated to something truly special. Later Youth. One man enters the stage and sits behind a grand piano. The chatter slowly dissolved and after a moment of silence, the whole room is filled with the sounds of purity that touch everyones hearts. It’s rare for a lesser known warm up act to have such a huge impact on an audience but all eyes were fixated to something, and someone, who we wish could’ve gone on forever.

Later Youth

It only felt like a couple of minutes had passed before the lights went down for the final time of the evening. Only this time, the only lights in the venue would be pointing at Lissie, the country singer from Illinois, as she greets the audience with the fun personality that speaks volumes to everyone in the venue. There were no microphones on the piano. There was just a microphone for Lissie, which she didn’t use at various moments. It was the purest way to see her perform, much in the same way that actor’s voice needs to travel in the theatre. She opens with Don’t You Give Up On Me.

Lissie

She moves through a back catalogue of the incredible work she has released in her career that spans over a decade long. One of the most recent releases, Castles, is a beautifully personal melody that instantly resonates in everyones hearts. Looking around the room, you can see tears, faces mouthing words and people simply in awe. There is only one question going through my head. How can someone have such an incredible voice? At the exact moment I think this, Lissie’s hand drops to her side as her powerful, yet delicate, voice bursts through the space without any use of the microphone. I can say with much confidence that I was not the only one who had goose bumps at this moment. If there’s one topic that every musician has to cover, it’s love and heartbreak. We always hear these pretentious songs talking about the wonders of love or the relief of a break up, but tonight we hear a very honest song about heartbreak. Love Blows. It’s a story that tells us of the difficulties of heartbreak and how much “love blows”, especially with your first experiences of this. Only, she sings moments of this with a smile on her face, as if to make it clear that although these moments in life such, or “blow” in her words, it always gets better. She stands at the very front of the stage and looks deeply into the eyes of everyone close to her and sings the words clear, as if to send the most important message in the world in such a personal and direct way.

Lissie

It’s a different dynamic to her other gigs. We’re so familiar with Lissie, the lone figure standing the the middle of the stage with the acoustic guitar. It’s actually nice to see her solely focusing on the vocals as not only is she free from holding an instrument, she is free to roam around the stage as the pleases. The way she sways and dances to the music is mesmerising. The many moments she drops the microphone to her side to sing into the open space only brings an exaggerated emotion which hits you extremely hard. You can hear everything. From her footsteps to the microphone lead slapping the ground with her sudden movements. This is a gig that anyone could say is one to remember for the rest of your life.

This bold statement is only backed up with Lissie’s show finisher Ojai. In a plea for the end never to come, “I don’t want to leave you behind” is sung at the top of her lungs, a lyric that is something everyone is the audience is begging for. None of us want her to leave the stage. We want her to sing to us forever. But alas. All good things must come to an end. And what a perfect way for us to part ways with Lissie. It’s an extremely emotional song that will be imprinted in everyone’s heads as she leaves the stage with the biggest smile on her face.

Lissie

Setlist:
Don’t You Give Up on Me
Sleepwalking
Oh Mississippi
Castles
Blood and Muscle
Love Blows
Cowboy Take Me Away (Dixie Chicks cover)
When I’m Alone Everywhere I Go
They All Want You
Dreams (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Best Days
In Sleep
Ojai

Lissie

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