Lissie at The Opera House in 20122. Photo: Dave MacIntyre
Lissie at The Opera House in 2012. Photo: Dave MacIntyre

October 13, 2015

“It’s good to be back in Montre-“

Steadfast folk rock performer Elizabeth Maurus A.K.A Lissie can now add her name to the long list of those who botched the classic “It’s good to be in (insert city)” rock n’ roll intro.

The opening line is a pop culture gag so familiar I don’t know if I’ve ever actually witnessed it happen in real life-until Tuesday night at The Mod Club. A healthy chorus of boos rang out before Lissie responded with a well timed:

“Oh you guys just don’t get my sense of humour!”

Well done! Well done indeed.

After a cheeky smile and sincere apology the crowd forgot all about the mix up with the rivals along the St. Lawrence, and actually seemed to endear her to the crowd. The flow of the performance kicked in to full swing as it became clear that the lack of instruments on stage was not going to result in a tame live experience. Lissie charged through selections from her catalogue with a fervor that was infectiously transferred to the crowd. The entire evening had an air of sincerity to it that owed itself entirely to the connection between Lissie and her Canadian crowd .

Lissie delivered singles “So What” When I’m Alone” “Shameless and “Sleepwalking” in a manner that saw her compensate for the lack of a band by physically compelling her body in order deliver the lyrics in a very powerful way. The result was a remarkable sonic alteration to these familiar melodies. Another noteworthy segment of the evening came in the form of a new song “Sun Keeps Rising.” Inspired by and dedicated to Lissie’s Aunt who passed away after being diagnosed with ALS.

I believe Sun Keeps Rising is one of her best-written tracks to date; a piece both sentimental and contemporary a way that reminds me of interviews wherein Lissie has remarked about the “short-sightedness” of human nature. She has repeatedly gone on record discussing how “we are so unwilling to do anything that will make lives easier for future generations.” This is usually mentioned in an environmental context, but I bring this up because during “Sun Also Rises” it felt as if she was asking people to continue to write songs not solely for the sake of sentimentality but also realize we must use every option we possibly can to affect change in a more permanent way.

During a short break I erroneously ordered a Molson Canadian in one of those cans that make you feel as if you’re slurping beer through the end of a garden hose. Not good.

Just over an hour went by without anyone noticing. Both the pace and commitment to delivery held the audiences’ attention well in to the show. Surprised chatter was heard when Lissie told the crowd she had one more song to sing. Lissie occupies an interesting place in the world of music. She is an immensely talented, dedicated original performer who can get the job done with or without a band. Her songs are that good. I think everyone was wondering which version of this music they may have preferred.

“I hope she gets her band back” I overheard a gentleman say.

Shortly after this comment Lissie took to the mic and answered the question we were all asking:

“I had a band, but…sometimes things don’t work out. People said if I toured with these songs on my own nobody would show up. And you’re all here. You’ve all shown up. So thank you all so, so much.”

Review by Jordan Chevalier