Lissie (Brighton Music Hall 6/5)

By Matthew Shelter
Photos by Matthew Shelter

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More than two years after her last appearance in our fair town, Lissie Maurus, who goes by the single-word stage name Lissie, was back in the city playing to a sold-out Brighton Music Hall crowd on a recent Wednesday night. Lissie is working on a new album, due out in September, and much of the evening was spent unveiling songs from the upcoming record – always a tricky venture for any artist.

I’m here to report, though, that if you like what Lissie has done in the past, you’re gonna like the new album – even as her sound is evolving. Based on what she featured at BMH – and more than half of the 13 songs she played were new – she’s sliding more toward the rock and pop end of the spectrum and away from the folk/alt-country sound that flavored her first couple of records.

Anyone who has seen her perform live knows that Lissie (and her solid backing band) have the chops to rock out. Indeed, her live shows (well, the two I’ve seen anyway) tend to be raucous affairs. Lissie has a hard time standing still on stage, spending much of the show kicking and stamping her feet, like some pent-up mare that wants out of the stable.

She opened the show with a new song, “The Habit,” and then unleashed a blistering version of “When I’m Alone,” one of the signature tracks from her full-length debut, 2010’s Catching A Tiger.  Another new track, “Sleepwalking,” kept the momentum going, and was greeted with sustained applause from the crowd – a good sign for an unreleased song. She stitched together another four new tracks in the middle of the set, including the slinky single “Shameless,” her newly penned screed against the vapidness of our celebrity culture, and “Further Away (Romance Police)” – she’s having trouble deciding which name to use – which featured a searing guitar solo by able sideman Eric Anderson.

Still, the loudest applause was reserved for the songs her fans were most familiar with, including “Little Lovin,'” “Everywhere I Go” and set-closer “In Sleep.”  Her encore of “Oh Mississippi” and “Pursuit of Happiness” – the latter a Kid Cudi cover – threatened to raise the roof off the low-ceilinged BMH.

Lissie is off to Europe now, and won’t be back in the States until late summer. Here’s hoping it’s not another two years before she pays us a return visit – maybe after the new album comes out in the fall.

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