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Throngs of fans eagerly awaited Midwest rocker Lissie at the Paradise. She claimed the stage happily with a smile and thank-you she carried throughout her 11-song set. Opening with “Wedding Bells,” she reminded the crowd why they fell in love with her ’09 EP Why You Runnin’ – namely her folk roots and raw, soulful voice.
Starting with a laid-back piece left Lissie plenty of room to move, and the more she performed the more her body and personality loosened beyond its sweet, shy first impression. From admitting she wanted to push the show back a bit to hear the “baby Jesus” line in Talladega Nights, to raising her arm proudly to show her unshaved pits, she let her guards down. She became more aggressive with the mic moving into “Worried About” and “When I’m Alone,” unafraid of stomping the small stage, tossing her head back with eyes closed while on guitar, and conducting the crowd with her open right hand in the air.
Lewis Keller backed Lissie on bass while British drummer Stuart Wilkinson, fresh off her UK tour, rounded out the rhythm section. Guitarist Eric Sullivan stood out with his clear riffs and epic solos, specifically during “Bully.” Crowd favorites included the poppy “Cuckoo” and slower, beautiful “Everywhere I Go.”
The audience followed Lissie’s abandonment to the music, as well as her stories and the narratives in her music – from kissing an elephant figurine on stage (because one was once a co-star in a video), to describing the cyclical nature of life in her native Rock Island, IL in “ Oh Mississippi” during her encore. She closed with an engaging cover of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness,” which captivated everyone at The Dise.