Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 12/03/2014 | Lissie – O2 Academy, Oxford

12/03/2014 | Lissie – O2 Academy, Oxford

Lisa Ward


It seems odd that Lissie has failed to make her way up the charts as predicted. Despite moderate success with her albums, it seems the singles have failed to reach the heights that Sony might have expected. The solution it seems is an independent release, and this opens up the set to feature songs from earlier in her catalogue rather than just focussing on latest LP, Back To Forever. The result is a show which opens with a cover of Hank William’s Wedding Bells before moving into the atmospheric Bully, which bears only a minimal resemblance to it’s album counterpart. 

Still, it’s Record Collector which really sees the band come in to its own, the start slowed down before culminating in a frenzied ending and this is coupled with the almost grinding guitar accompaniment to When I’m Alone, highlighting her musical prowess. Elsewhere rocky B side Shroud further confirms musical capacity, whilst Love In The City serves to remind the crowd of her vocal power. In fact, Lissie makes the whole thing seem so simple it’s easy to lose sight of this vocal ability, which is the very thing which makes the set so noteworthy. Whether she’s belting out the uptempo numbers, or delivering something far more heartfelt like Back To Forever her vocals never falter.

Interestingly it’s also this song which also sees the guy who’s been talking at full volume throughout the gig finally switch his chatter for singing. Though his vocal harmonies leave a lot to be desired, it does indicate Lissie’s ability to delight a mixed crowd. Tonight the venue is packed with children and adults alike, who all seem to hang on to different parts of the set. This diversity is also seen in her song choices and as she closes the show with a reworking of Danzig’s Mother it demonstrates that Lissie is not only able to release her own stand out tracks, but also to reimagine those of others; moving a metal number to a powerful pop-rock sound.

Nevertheless, whilst I’d once have argued Lissie’s vocal force was an unrivalled sound to be reckoned with tonight she might have met her match in the form of her support, Norma Jean Martine. Whilst No Gold carries a more bluesy style, her ability to tear into the vocals at the end suggests a more pop styling, and this is apparent in the guitar led Only In My Mind. A name to watch, it might not be long before Norma is rivalling with Lissie for the headline spot.


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