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December 6, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Lissie’s edgy folk-rock splits crowd | Concert review

(Andrew Whitton)

(Andrew Whitton)

With her star on the rise, Illinois-bred singer-songwriter Lissie easily could have filled The Crocodile by herself with her rousing performance of songs from the powerful new album, “Back to Forever.”

But opening act Kopecky Family Band, a troupe of indie rockers from Nashville with its own boisterous following, assured a full house Thursday. The late-night show was a high-value doubleheader for fans of edgy folk-rock, even though the audience seemed divided into separate camps.

Lissie, whose full name is Elisabeth Corrin Maurus, recently completed a short European tour and made appearances on “Conan” and “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.”

Wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, she opened just before 10:30 p.m. with “Bully,” a heartfelt song about youthful independence from her 2010 debut album, “Catching a Tiger.”

“Sleepwalking” and “Shameless” were among the strongest tunes from “Back to Forever,” her new soul-baring, autobiographical album exploring such themes as fame, loneliness, independence and romantic obsession, propelled by great hooks and singalong choruses.

Backed by a three-piece band (featuring talented guitarist Eric Sullivan), the husky-voiced singer tore through “Shameless,” a song about fame and the music business.

“I don’t want to be famous, if I got to be shameless,” she snarled.

Lissie performed “The Habit,” a song about falling for (and ultimately leaving) someone who only brings heartbreak, with a sense of exhilaration.

The audience sang along to “I Don’t Wanna Go to Work,” a tuneful anthem for the underappreciated, and grooved to “Further Away (Romance Police),” another cautionary tune about love.

Lissie kicked off a short encore with “Oh, Mississippi,” a nostalgic, country-tinged song inspired by her youth in the riverside town of Rock Island, Ill.

Kopecky Family Band, a six-member group that views itself as a musical family even though unrelated, opened with “My Way” and the hit single, “Heartbeat.”

Fans were loud and vocal, singing along during a much-too-brief set. Indeed, the Nashville band could have been the evening’s co-headliner. When the group left the stage, so did a portion of the audience.

Comments | More in Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: 'Back to Forever', Concert Review, Crocodile

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