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Lissie presents complete package

The Sinclair, Cambridge, Mass., May 22, 2018

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Other recent concert reviews
Getting down to brass tacks, Lissie is the complete package.

For starters, she has a big, full, all embracing kind of voice that was particularly powerful.

The Iowa farmer (well she lives on a farm anyway when she's not out on the road) also has a lot of quality songs to match with an emphasis on anthemic sing-along material that make you bob your head. (the poppy "Feels Good" and the title track of her latest, big sounding "Castles" where bought the pace down only to bounce back up) And even when a song may not have sounded especially important, Lissie sure made it sound that way. She recalled Adele vocally for the power and vibrancy

That's not to say she was overwrought by any stretch. Lissie stayed within the song - when it demanded she turn it on, Lissie had no problem ("Hero" with an emotional delivery). Nor did she when needing to tone it down a notch or two (the gospel sounding "Oh Mississippi").

Lissie, barefoot and wearing a floor-length flowing white dress, offered the force of personality that immediately connected with the crowd. Her stage presence if filled with a lot of hand gestures. She's confident, but in a good way.

Lissie has been making music since 2009 with only four full-length albums to her credit, all on different labels. "Castles" dropped in March on Cooking Vinyl. Perhaps the constant shifting on the business side has not been the best for her career from a commercial standpoint.

But Lissie maintains an optimism, probably nowhere better expressed on the new "Best Days," which she introduced by saying "Sometimes in life you have these valleys where you think 'did I peak? Do I have nothing to look forward to?...There's always something to strive for, something to look forward to, and there's always a surprise around the corner that can turn your life for the better." Being upbeat in song serves Lissie well. Based on this performance, it is a head scratcher why Lissie isn't a far bigger artist, at least commercially. Powerful outings like this can have that effect.

Los Angeles singer Van William opened the set that got better as it went along. Particularly in comparison to the headliner, he tended not to have songs that had the same gravitas whether real or imagined. William is best known for his song "Revolution," which he recorded with First Aid Kit on backing vocals. It's easy to see why as it was his best song with a bit of a country and Americana feel.