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Lissie lights up a packed Lincoln Hall

By Audrey Plank
On January 31, 2011

A frozen crowd filed into Lincoln Hall on Saturday, Jan. 22 to see Elizabeth Maurus, or "Lissie" as she's known in her newly-found musicianship, a Midwestern darling with a hell of a voice. Recently named Paste Magazine's #1 New Solo Artist, this bluesy-folk rock artist has been touring non-stop to promote her new album, "Catching a Tiger." Lissie's Chicago following comprised your late 20s to mid-30s crowd, with transplants from her hometown, Rock Island, Ill., who wouldn't let her forget they were there.Despite a wicked cold, Lissie took the stage after opener Dylan LeBlanc, a somber, acoustic guitar-playing troubadour with a haunting voice. Albeit relaxing, LeBlanc didn't necessarily fire up or even warm up the crowd. Most of the crowd was retrieving drinks or chatting up their neighbor as he played. LeBlanc closed with a Neil Young cover that was supposed to, in his own words, "lighten the mood."

By the time Lissie graced the stage, the crowd was filled to full capacity and ready to hear some songs. She opened with "Wedding Bells," a slow, melodic pick of lost love from her earlier released "Why You Runnin'" EP. The first few songs were effortlessly pulled off, although Lissie's Minnesota-contracted cold did rear its ugly head a few times, inserting a cough or two into an otherwise flawless performance.

The vivacious, mussy-headed blonde went on to play one of her more popular tracks, "When I'm Alone," to the previously entranced audience, which was now singing every word along with her as she bounced about the stage, guitar strapped. The upbeat song was followed by "Bully," a heart-felt ode to her parents, "Mama's here and Papa too, and we are so darn proud of you," she crooned to her parents, present on the balcony.

Stories and anecdotes flowed through and in between songs, as she complained that one reviewer disliked her story-telling. This semi-hometown craved it and welcomed the anecdotal stories with open arms, especially when it came to her song, "Cuckoo," a tail of teenage angst and self-admitted rebellion and misunderstanding.

The songs from her new album, "Catching a Tiger," tended to be the more upbeat crowd favorites. Taking a bit of her warm, smokey voice and accompanying it with more pop-rock mixing techniques.

It was the encore that really stole the show however, when Lissie announced to the crowd that "Little Lovin'" would be her last song, the Lissie-intoxicated crowd rejected this notion with boos and cries. She qualified explaining that if they cheered she would not deny them an encore, and this seemed to keep the lions at bay.

She came back after some much needed hydration with two crowd favorites, "Oh Mississippi," a down home love song to her hailed Quad Cities, which border the Mississippi River; and finally a cover of KiD CuDi's "Pursuit of Happiness," for which she is renowned. The song isn't complete without a shot of tequila down her hatch, and although she was ailing, she aimed to please, and took one for the team. The crowd sang every word to the song as if it she had written it for them. KiD CuDi better watch out for this one.

The crowd, whose ears and eyes had been quenched by the ever-pleasing Lissie, filed back out into the cold Saturday night, but remained warm from a perfectly pleasing show at Lincoln Hall.

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