NATICK - Lisa Marie Presley pushed aside the sticks and stones of critics Friday night, solidly rocking The Verve at the Natick Crowne Plaza with her five-member band and a talent all her own.
Wailing away on a pair of drums with felt mallets at times, the daughter of the king of rock 'n' roll revealed an edgy, haunting blues sound to which she adds a touch of the Go-Go's. She was confident in her singing and has formed a tight-knit musical family that includes her husband, guitarist and musical director Michael Lockwood; keyboardist/vocalist and former Bigelf member Damon Fox; drummer John Sands; Jamison Hollister on mandolin/pedal steel; and Luis Maldonado on electric bass/vocals.
During the 75-minute set Presley featured mostly songs from her latest album, "Storm & Grace," a solid endeavor produced by T Bone Burnett, including memorable renditions of "Over Me," "So Long," and "Sticks and Stones." Keyboardist Fox, and Lockwood with his colorful series of Gretsch hollow-body guitars, juiced things up just enough without stealing the show from its star.
Some in the crowd may have come to the show expecting something else, but showed an appreciation for Presley's songwriting, musicianship, deep sultry voice and willingness to open herself up and connect with the audience with comments between songs. Presley's uncomplicated style was enhanced by the band's richly layered accompaniment.
This was a return trip to Natick for Presley - she played at The Center for Arts in Natick Nov. 23 – but for many this concert was their first time seeing Presley in person. Fans included five local women – all who claim the middle name Marie - Susan Marie Barry of Somerville, Lisa Marie Ricciardi of Stoneham, Susan Marie MacKenzie of Wilmington, Jane Marie Brunet of Cambridge and Patricia Marie Foscarota of Somerville. They said they'd previously traveled as a group to Memphis to hear Presley play, and that they hoped to snag Presley after the concert for a group photo.
Framingham resident Mark Diamond, who got as close to the crush near the intimate stage as he could, said, "I love her music -- and I loved her dad." Christian Darcy, also of Framingham, said this was his first time seeing Presley in concert and he was impressed she sounded very much like her recordings. "I like her edgy sound," he added.
Sisters Kathy Mofrield and Nancy Mangion, both of Bedford, said they'd seen Presley on TV shows like "Letterman" and had listened to her CDs, but were excited to have the chance to see her in person.
Looking slim and healthy, the 45-year-old Presley wore her brunette hair long and slightly teased on top, and was dressed in a black blazer and red shirt over slim dark pants, accenting her outfit with a simple silver cuff. Lockwood and Fox added a Dickensian Steampunk vibe to the group with top hats while Hollister wore a black bowler. Lockwood, who also wore a red foxtail and had a snake-head guitar strap, is a Tom Petty lookalike with his blond hair, and indeed the encore was a cover of Petty's "I Need to Know." It seems to be a tradition of hers to often end her shows with a Petty song.
During the show, Presley told the audience she had just flown in from England where she now lives and spent a joyful Christmas under one roof with her husband and all four of her children, 5-year-old fraternal twin girls Harper and Finley, and 21-year-old Benjamin Keough and 24-year old daughter Riley Keough. She called Lockwood "the best father and stepfather in the world" and that her children are "the only people in the world who can make me both laugh and cry hysterically."
Hinting at past personal difficulties, Presley said she'd written several of her songs when "I was a mess." Later, she told the audience, "this [music] is what keeps me sane. This and my kids and my husband and you guys."
- See more at the Milford Daily News.