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What You Missed: Lissie with Dylan LeBlanc

21 Jan

On a night that was almost too cold to support human life, the warmth inside the Cedar Cultural Center was almost perfect. Alright, so Dylan LeBlanc was unfortunately introduced as Matt LeBlanc (“How you doin’?”) but the music that he, followed by a triumphant Lissie, made from stage was glowing, energetic and enveloping.

Accompanied by a keyboardist and playing a John Lennon signature Epiphone acoustic that had been buffed down to reduce the glare into the audience, LeBlanc’s buttery lilt recalled something like a sober Janis Joplin, or oddly, coming from the back of the throat as it did, Tracy Chapman. That he covered Neil Young to close out his set was a telling choice, and the young Louisianan’s arrangements was reminiscent of Young’s early work, often covering similar thematic ground of lost love, bars and wandering men. He mostly sang with his eyes closed and thanked the audience several times for their attention and politeness, saying that it helped him focus on stage. One group that he did not have kind words for were American Airlines, who forced him to put a guitar in the cargo hold on an international flight, where it was destroyed en route. Unwilling to do anything about that, LeBlanc promised to “talk shit about them” while on tour. That bit actually had it’s own spot on the setlist as *AA SPEECH*, and if you feel like registering a complaint on his behalf, you can do so here. LeBlanc played mostly tracks from his 2010 record Pauper’s Field, but two of the best, “No Kind of Forgiveness” and “Chesapeake Lane”, came from an album that may be out in May or June, if, as he put it, “we play our cards right.” Kid’s playing with a strong hand, and we’ll welcome him back to the table anytime.

Dylan LeBlanc- “5th Ave Bar” from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

Dylan LeBlanc- “Harvest Moon” [COVER] from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

Since Lissie had to cancel her last show here this fall due to illness, we were more than happy to welcome her back. Dressed in a white chemise and faux-leather leggings (which she said she pulled out on a whim, she’s usually a jeans-and-t-shirt “comfort dresser”) she was charming and bubbly from the first. From stage she reminisced about the last time she actually played in the Twin Cities, at the Triple Rock where she marveled at the free bacon night, but, as she’s from Illinois, she’s from the Midwest and gets it. She started off her set with a wailing cover of Hank Williams’ “Wedding Bells” and the energy turned from light and bright to a roiling bundle as she banged her cowboy boot into the carpet and sung as though Dusty Springfield had been an indie-stomper instead of a blues-crooner. She was backed by an excellent band, Eric Sullivan on guitar and backing vox, all hot licks and a montage of rock-guy solo faces, and Lewis Keller pulling triple duty on bass guitar, bass drum & hi-hat and backing vocals. One of the best musical moments of the night was the opening of “When I’m Alone”, with a great back and forth between Sullivan and Keller before Lissie swooped into the action.

The set was full of moments of charming-verging-on-rambling self-revelation, such as that she bakes pies listening to Prairie Home Companion, kisses a small bronze elephant that a fan in Newcastle, England, gave her in honor of Marla, a 25-year-old African elephant with whom she shot a video for “Everywhere I Go” and that she teases Sullivan for wearing a vest that makes him look like MaGruber.Through all this, the music was honest and strong, “Cuckoo”, about teenage defiance, “Bully”, about seeking validation and the Current favorite and crowd sing-along “Little Lovin'” all had the crowd rapt and moving along. The band left the stage for all of two minutes before coming back out for the encore of “Oh Mississippi” and the cover of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness”, letting down anyone in the crowd hoping for Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” but the roaring finish meant that no-one left sad, as we had all just caught a tiger.

Lissie- “Worried About” from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

Lissie- “Cuckoo” from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

Lissie- “Oh Mississippi” from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

Lissie- “Pursuit of Happiness” [COVER] from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

Check out Staciaann’s slide show for City Pages!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Lissie w/ Dylan LeBlanc | mkfiasco.com: minnesota music and event photography - January 26, 2011

    […] Cake in 15 posted several videos of the show as well as the story behind LeBlanc’s American Airlines guitar fiasco and why it’s a good idea to make an effort for someone who’s on a cross-country tour. […]

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