Lizzy McAlpine’s five seconds flat: Concert Review


With her debut album released during the height of quarantine, Lizzy McAlpine has never done a headlining tour– until now. With the release of her sophomore album, five seconds flat, Lizzy takes to the road to give ecstatic fans a chance to hear their favorite songs live. I happened to be one of those fans, which is what led me to be waiting outside the Howard Theater on Saturday night.

The Howard was an ideal venue for Lizzy. Though similar in capacity to the 9:30 Club, the Howard felt more intimate. The cushioned walls and ceiling feature felt welcoming, and the small size of the floor made any spot a good one. The floor quickly filled up, as fans had been eagerly waiting outside, the line to get in wrapping around 4 corners of the theater. The opener, Carol Ades, put on a great set. She warmed up the crowd with lots of energy and audience banter, calling us the “cutest bestest saddest people”, and her indie-pop music complemented Lizzy’s own style. She was received well by everyone in the audience. As we waited for Lizzy’s set, the entire crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to a girl sitting in the mezzanine and everyone sang along when Harry Styles' “Late Night Talking” came on over the speakers. Needless to say, the energy in the venue was immaculate.

At promptly 10:00pm, 2 hours after doors, the lights dim, the screams start, and Lizzy walks out.She opens with “an ego thing”, and the crowd shouts along with her. Lizzy emotionally thanks the sold-out crowd for being there and sharing her enthusiasm for her music. She then immediately begins “Over the Ocean Call”, which is my personal favorite. Lizzy mainly stayed center stage, tethered to the microphone stand and her guitar, but the crowd interaction was still apparent as she often let us take over the chorus, holding out the mic while she belted in the background. Like many other Covid-era songwriters, she’s overcome with emotion hearing a crowd sing her lyrics back to her after years of writing alone in her room. The lighting design was incredible, immensely adding to the atmosphere. As the music slowed, her band backed out and the lights dropped, making it feel like an intimate listening party.

Now, the one thing I noted about this concert was just how undeniably incredible the set list was. Banger after banger after banger. Before the show, I was a bit worried because most of Lizzy’s songs have a chill, relaxed vibe, but she made even her saddest songs feel new and exciting as she performed them. The set list oscillated between slow songs, featuring just Lizzy and her guitar, and more energetic songs that the crowd danced along to. Then, of course, there were the crowd favorites, like “all of my ghosts” and “doomsday,” in which the crowd almost drowned out Lizzy. She also introduced two new, unreleased songs. One, written and dedicated to her sister Emma, caused Lizzy to tear up as she played. As with most of her live shows, the emotion could be felt through the audience.

She ended the main part of the show with the powerhouse trifecta of “Angelina”, “Apple Pie,” and “erase me”.  “Angelina” was a moving moment as she and her guitarist Kelly took the stage to show off their respective skills and add a dimension to the song. However, she was quick to let us know that these were not actually her last songs. Walking offstage with a wink and a wave, the crowd immediately picked up on chanting, “Lizzy! Lizzy! Lizzy!” until she quickly returned not even 3 minutes later. She closed out with “Pancakes for Dinner” and “orange show speedway.” The encore gave me whiplash, from the relaxed nature of “Pancakes” straight into the upbeat screamfest that is “orange show speedway”, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

With a final bow, Lizzy walked off stage, for real this time. Overall, Lizzy McAlpine put on an incredible show. It was engaging and exciting, while also feeling intimate and emotional. Her vocals were absolutely incredible along with the phenomenal support from her guitarist and drummer. As she continues to grow as an artist, I have no doubt next time Lizzy is here, she’ll be selling out the Anthem.

More Stories for Show: