Live: Lissie @ Heaven, London

Photo: Emma Barlow

Photo: Emma Barlow

Lissie played a sold out gig at London’s Heaven, but not without the help of her trusty superglue.  She followed a storming set from Brighton four piece Ramona, who were first to take to the venue’s lofty stage.  They provided a more than satisfactory warm-up for the powerful lungs of Lissie that were to follow.

It might be a lazy comparison, but the punk-influenced musical stylings, the blonde hair, and the pouty attitude of Ramona’s lead singer Karen Anne brought Debbie Harry to mind.  Single ‘How Long’ was reminiscent of a punk era gone by: a perfectly modern take on the punk-rock sounds of the late 70s, it reminded me of the Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’. With the addition of 90s classic Blue Boy’s ‘Remember Me’, the highlight of the set, Ramona proved that they are a group with many strings to their musical bow.

Then it was Lissie’s turn. The atmosphere was buzzing as this much-talked about musician opened up with ‘Wedding Bells.’ It’s often a worry that a much-hyped act will struggle to live up to expectations. This was certainly not the case with Lissie. Her powerful and soulful voice – whether she’s singing softly on ‘Bully’ or belting it out on her first single, ‘When I’m Alone’ – changed my cynical mind right from the start.

Appearing totally comfortable on stage, she told a bemused audience that she had to briefly stop the gig to get some superglue. “I don’t play with a pick, I guess I should learn. I actually have this long nail…” she explained to the thoroughly disgusted crowd. But after covering her fingertip with super glue, and as if to prove her method certainly works, she played a truly magnificent and heartfelt rendition of ‘Everywhere I Go’.

The band had chosen to cover Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’, as performed on Radio 2 recently, as the ultimate finale (especially appropriate at a venue named Heaven). Lissie and her band produced a particularly magical rendition of the rock anthem, that would have brought a smile to even the most hardcore of Led Zep fans.

Having listened to Lissie’s album I wasn’t quite so sure what made her stand apart from the veritable gaggle of girly singer/songwriters currently in vogue. Actually her album Catching A Tiger doesn’t do her justice, her powerful and soulful voice is totally unique and definitely one to see live.  Lissie is one of the best singers around at the moment.

Words: Emma Barlow