Lydia Loveless Effortlessly Belts Their Way Through Beachland Ballroom Show

Loveless brought an emotional and career-spanning set to Cleveland

click to enlarge Loveless in Cleveland Wednesday night - Photo by Eric Heisig
Photo by Eric Heisig
Loveless in Cleveland Wednesday night

Lydia Loveless makes performing look easy.

The acclaimed singer/songwriter barely broke a sweat Wednesday night at the Beachland Ballroom while belting out one song after another, vacillating between a turquoise Fender Telecaster guitar and an electric piano.

Making their first appearance in Cleveland in several years, Loveless steered a four-piece backing band (including a drummer whose bass drum had a red heart with an “x” over it. Get it?) through 90 minutes of songs that spanned their career — including several new ones — and plenty of anecdotes and funny asides.

Loveless, a Columbus native, has made a name for themself over the past decade-plus with powerful singing and songwriting. Ostensibly a country singer, they have proved themself adept at blending genres while still maintaining a powerful, slightly twangy voice that can comfortably rock, plead, crack wise and confess.

And that’s to say nothing of Loveless’ instrumental prowess - which was on display as they handled the lion’s share of the riffs on Wednesday - and inventive lyrics that touch upon desire, insecurity, fear and the depths of one’s imagination.

Highlights — and there were many — included “Can’t Think,” “Verlaine Shot Rimbaud,” the insanely catchy “Head,” complete with the tastefully raunchiest lyrics this side of Prince, -encore opener “Longer.”

New song “French Restaurant” was also a strong addition to Loveless’ catalog, which the musician said was about “getting in a really bad fight about Machine Gun Kelly at a French restaurant.

“Isn’t he from here?” they asked the crowd.

But some of the most powerful moments came when Loveless was alone onstage. Their voice and electric guitar filled what could charitably be described as a half-full venue with the requested “To Love Somebody” and new song “Loser.”

“I get inspired by dumb crushes and now that I’m single I have a ton,” Loveless cracked about the latter.

The performance all seemed to come so naturally. Close your eyes, though, and you heard the sound of someone spilling their guts and working things out. And at that point, you realize it wasn’t so easy.

Eric Heisig is a freelance writer in Cleveland. He can be reached at [email protected].

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