On 21st Feb, Manchester’s Club Academy welcomed Lissie, along with support acts Cat Clyde and Hannah Ashcroft. Whilst the gig was not a sell-out, it was pretty close, and the lower area in front of the stage was packed.
Manchester-based Hannah Ashcroft was first up. She played a five-song set backed by Sam Quinn on guitar. Hannah was a little husky due to a cold, but it didn’t impact her performance. The extra husk to her voice added a slightly different dimension to the songs.
Hannah’s music has an Indie styling to it, with interesting lyrics and good guitar parts. Her first and second songs – Amaryllis and Little Consequence – sounded great, and the reverb from her guitar worked well with the less-than-happy words.
Although Hannah’s set was comparatively short, it was a nice selection of her music, and finished on one of her best – read “most likely to stuck in your head for hours” – Amoeba. She hasn’t released much yet, but it’s worth checking out what little of her music is available online.
Cat Clyde, a singer-songwriter from Ontario, Canada, was up second. Playing an appropriately sized electric guitar, she delighted the audience with her quirky, blues-infused music. Her second song, Everywhere I Go, had a ‘60s feel to it, reminiscent of Mungo Jerry’s Pushbike Song. Her deep voice sounded great on all she sang. Interestingly – for this reviewer at least – her fifth number, Mama Said, had a sound of Lost Myself by Longpigs to it – not something you would expect from a twentysomething from Canada, although there is every chance this ageing reviewer is hearing things others would not.
There were no bad songs in her set, and her band introduction was entertaining. Cat was a good choice as she provided something different to the other acts, but also did a good job of warming up the crowd for Lissie. Her set was a great introduction to her work, and she’s someone worth checking out, and would be good to see live again.
Lissie took to the stage with her standard UK/European tour band, made up of Nick Vaal on drums, Sam Quinn on electric guitar, Jo Dudderidge on keys and acoustic guitar, and Hannah Ashcroft on backing vocals, with added bonus of Lewis Keller – who many Lissie fans of old may have recognised – on bass.
Beginning her set with Unravel, from her latest album, Lissie started as she meant to go on. Following this up with Sleepwalking, the audience was hooked.
Mixing in older fan favourites with about half the songs from Carving Canyons, as always, Lissie failed to disappoint. She was enthused, her performance full of emotion – especially with the sadder songs – and she truly looked like she was enjoying herself.
The band were also on form. Sam Quinn’s guitar performance was excellent, although his “guitar faces” did look a little too rehearsed. The more these guys perform together, the better they get, but it is also great to see the old faces appear. Last tour it was Eric Sullivan, this tour Lewis Keller. If the stars align, maybe next tour both will make an appearance.
As the show progressed, Lissie provided fans with some background to the writing of the songs on Carving Canyons – is probably her most personal record to date. It was interesting, although the die-hards would likely have read all the interviews and known this already.
As usual, the encore was worth the ticket price alone. The energy and emotion that goes into Everywhere I Go and Little Lovin’ is immense, and it’s hard not to get caught up in it. Building upon the energy of When I’m Alone, In Sleep, and Night Moves at the end of the main set, it would have been hard to leave the venue without a smile on your face and likely a sore throat from all the singing.
If you even have just a passing affection for Lissie’s music, she is worth catching live. She has never disappointed, and it would be hard to see her doing so any time soon.
More photos can be found here.