Lissie at Union Chapel was always going to be an exciting prospect for me. This July date was the first announced which then resulted in another being announced on the 30th June. I arrived at the Chapel at 2.30pm. By that time only one fan was sitting on the steps and I was very fortunate it was my friend. The 4ish hours waiting went by so slow. Maybe it was down to the fact the weather was simply baking. At this time I was wishing that the venue would open early because I just wanted to be seated in the shade. I only have one gripe about the Union Chapel and this being the membership scheme. Yes it is good in a way because the money goes to the Chapel to help with any restoration needed but the bad side is the fact it offers priority access for you and a maximum of 8 people. Thankfully it wasn’t an issue because both sets of queues went in at the same time.
Taking to the stage at 8.30 was the one and only Lissie Maurus. Even Maurus is at the fore front you also had Lewis Keller, Eric Sullivan, Jesse Siebenberg plus there were backing singers and also a string section which worked wonders. “It’s an honour to get to play to a packed house in this incredible venue” Lissie then humbly said before kick starting the evening with something truly special. This being Oh Mississippi which featured on the debut EP Why You Runnin’. It may of not of been a new tune but what made this special was the fact it was fully a capella. Maurus utilised this perfectly and this is what the Union Chapel is made for. The acoustics were second to none which made the performance extremely powerful. This was a beautiful ballad with a dash of emotion and Lissie’s vocals were rather spine tingling. Straight after the applause Maurus went back to get her guitar for yet another pre Catching A Tiger tune and this being Here Before. In fact I haven’t heard this performed live for a good 3 years. Now I must say this is one hell of a song and it was a right pleasure just to witness it being performed live again. Here Before was a slowie and was extremely strong in parts.
“This is a Hank one” Lissie then said before diving into her take on Hank Williams Wedding Bells. Now this was both smooth and soft. The vocal delivery was extraordinary. Whilst it was not infectious the lyrics were extremely memorable “Wedding bells are ringing in the chapel/ Should be ringing out for you and me/ Down the aisle with someone else you’re walking/ Wedding bells will never ring for me” What I adored was this is very precise you can clearly have a mental image of what is happening in your head. Lissie definitely does this beautiful song justice. Once the applause had died down it was then onto something from sophomore LP Back To Forever and this being They All Want You. This had been perfectly written and what I adored was its story telling lyrics. I have to say that this tune was spectacularly delivered and Lissie put every ounce of energy into delivering something truly remarkable. Now what made this extra special was the fact Jesse played the Chapel’s organ. “I don’t know how many opportunities to have a real live organ” Maurus then said. It was then onto something that was a complete cracker and thus being the new but old Shroud. For some reason it did not make an appearance on Back To Forever but instead it appeared as the B side to Shameless. Lissie Maurus wrote this and you can clearly tell she has the knack for song writing. This was simply phenomenal and my thoughts to why it didn’t appear on the LP was the fact it wouldn’t fit the feel of it. Maurus once said she wrote this when she was going through and the emotional lyrics proves this “I feel like I have lost my mind”. At first it started at a smooth pace then once it progressed it gained an extra oomph. It was then onto the folk rock song When I’m Alone which was the 2nd single that Maurus released back in 2010. It was literally belted out and the chorus was contagious. When I’m Alone was a foot stomper. I could pick up on plenty of passion from the vocal delivery. After it was onto Shameless. Plenty of Rock vibes oozed from this. If I am honest when I first heard this way back last year I wasn’t sure what to make of it because it was extremely different compared to anything from Catching A Tiger. Now I simply love this, the lyrics were spectacular and Maurus put everything into delivering something incredible. “I know that you guys know it by the way” Lissie then said the minute they started to play Catching A Tiger track Record Collector. I have to say that this tune was quite something and it definitely had the potential to be released as a single. Now this was very upbeat a toe tapper you could say. Then the pace slowed down for the middle 8 which saw Lissie refer to God as being a woman “One time–there was this one time/ When I swore God, she spoke to me/ And she told me, oh yes, she told me/ Of all the wonders that she could bring” then straight after there was a frantic paced finishing. “We like to do cover songs as some of you may know. We have a new covers EP out that we self released. It’s got a real diverse selection of songs” Lissie Maurus said before asking how many Judas Priest fans were in the audience before launching into something from Cryin’ To You. Now this being her take on Electric Eye. I can’t say I have ever listened to Judas Priest but Lissie’s take on this was really good. I found it to be infectious and delivered at a smooth pace. Once the drums came in this cover turned into one massive jam. Maurus put her heart and soul into delivering something unique and memorable. Little Lovin’ followed on and this again being another foot stomper. Again it featured on the Why You Runnin’ EP and also it made the cut for Catching A Tiger. This was one rousing song and went down a storm. The lyrics were pure perfection and everything went into delivering this tune strongly. Little Lovin’ also name checks that very EP plus there was an amazing and memorable chant. Maurus also asked for people to stand up. Now I found this to be a number that easily gets you moving. It came as a shock that plenty of people just remained sitting during most of the set. Mountain Top Removal is a mining process that they do in the USA were they chop off the top of a mountain only to dump chemicals into it. Now this was a slow paced ballad which was faultlessly delivered. The lyrics were precise and straight to the point “I went to the mountain/ But the mountain top was gone”. It was then time for Bully which was slow paced song and sounded ever so gentle before the drums came in to give the tune that extra something. Bully was extremely mesmerising and you could clearly picture. It was about standing up for yourself after being bullied verbally and don’t let this get you down. If you really want something don’t let anything stand in your way “The world is yours/ Carry this torch/ And use your voice”. Now the extended ending was pretty awesome and there was some impressive guitar riffs.
After it was then onto Everywhere I Go. This was a weepy power ballad that you will instantly fall in love with. Just being up front witnessing Lissie perform this right in front of me left me hypnotised. Everywhere I Go was a gentle infectious song with ever so beautiful lyrics. “This next song is a newer song. It’s kinda along the same lines as Mountain Top” Maurus then said before Hell No. “It lists things that frustrate me” Lissie said before the backing singers took to the stage. Now Hell No was the song in question and this had an acoustic feel to it. It actually left me entranced as I found it to be quite infectious. You could actually view it as being Mountain Top Removal Part 2. Now this was sheer brilliance. Whether if it will appear on the 3rd album I do not know (If it doesn’t make the cut for the 3rd album I hope it is released in some format). After thanking the band it was then onto Further Away (Romance Police). This was the penultimate tune of the evening and it was simply amazing. Performance wise it was incredible and there was a folk rock vibe along with some impressive guitar riffs. Further Away consisted of 3 verses along with a delectable infectious chorus. The one disappointing thing had to be the backing singers. Their vocals were simply drowned out which was a great shame. Things came to a close with the predictable and epic In Sleep. This infectious tune was belted out and my favourite part had to be the extended ending. In Sleep oozed bundles of energy and it was one hell of a song to end on.
It wasn’t that long until Lissie Maurus took back to the stage for the much expected encore. This being Back To Forever which was an emotional song which Lissie wrote in her grandparents closet. This was extremely soft and easy on the ear. Its lyrics were rather beautiful plus there was a dash of emotion. Vocals were sheer bliss and it showcased Lissie’s strong and extraordinary vocal range. “There’s a lot of songs we didn’t play but we will just start playing 4 hour sets. So we can get it all in for you” Lissie then jokingly said before something that has become tradition. This being Pursuit Of Happiness which is a Kid Cudi track and Maurus’s take is quite remarkable. Now Lissie has been performing this for years and she has well and truly perfected it. This cover ended what had been one fantastic evening.
They All Want You
When I’m Alone
Mountain Top Removal
Everywhere I Go
Further Away (Romance Police)
Back To Forever
Pursuit Of Happiness
OVERALL: The Union Chapel is an exquisite venue and each show is 100% magical. Now this evening was just that. What makes this an extraordinary venue is the fact the acoustics are amazing. When Lissie opened up with Oh Mississippi made my hands stand on edge. I would love it if all the songs which featured were played as an a capella because that would be well and truly awesome. For me this was my 15th Lissie gig but I adore her folk tunes so much which makes me want to go back for more.
The new album Back To Forever is a complete masterpiece and the brand new covers EP is sheer brilliance. Now this evening was a mixture of new and old material plus a few covers were added in for good measure. It actually came as a shock that only 5 of the 18 tunes sang were from the sophomore EP. That wasn’t a bad thing at all because it was a pleasure to hear the old material again especially Here Before which I have not hear live since 2010. Also the newie Hell No was a complete corker.
Having both a strings section and a trio of backing singers put a different spin on a few of the songs (what I was most impressed with had to be the strings). Whereas I would love it if Maurus did tour with a string section I fully expect that the 2 nights at the Union Chapel were a one off.