When you listen to LP’s new single, “Lost on You,” the most amazing thing about it is her voice — it’s a singular voice that occasionally flies high through the air and occasionally swings low through gravel. And yet the voice always sounds like it belongs to the same woman.
Before we go any further, take a listen to the song on Soundcloud:
Do you like Chrissie Hynde? Patti Smith? Other unique, fearless women — who are have strong personalities but also strong pop sensibilities? Then if you don’t already know her, let me introduce you to singer-songwriter LP, born Laura Pergolizzi, a Los Angeles musician who has famously written songs for other artists ranging from the Backstreet Boys to Rihanna to Cher but is really best enjoyed as her ownself in a live show.
In the past week, LP swung through DC for no less than three shows! LP supported Bryan Ferry on two DC dates, July 23 and July 25, at the Lincoln Theatre and then played her Tuesday night show at U Street Music Hall to fill a gap date afterward. For the Bryan Ferry shows, she dressed like her album cover in garb with military overtones, perhaps appropriately classy as an opener for the UK glam crooner. In her own headlining show, she simply wore flannel and jeans and let her voice speak for itself.
LP kicked off her set for an adoring and very full house at U Street Music Hall with songs from her new EP, Death Valley, released in June by Vagrant Records. She sang “Muddy Waters,” a song about difficult times made popular by its use in the Netflix show “Orange Is the New Black,” and “Strange,” an ode to finding true connections among other people. The title track and “Lost on You” soon followed.
When singing, LP puts her heart into it, and the lyrics sometime move her lips into a snarl. But other times, she flashes a gregarious, wide smile that absolutely melts her audience. LP’s welcoming nature is on display about midway through her set when she invites three children from the front row — children obviously escorted by a chaperone who wasn’t going to miss this show — on stage to sing with her. The kids are obligingly cute, and the artist is in high spirits.
Strumming a ukulele, LP starts winding down her set with a cover of “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, relying mostly on her remarkable vocals in a duet with opener Lauren Ruth Ward. LP and Lauren have performed together a few times previously, and it’s clear the women have a great bond. They have fun with their cover, smiling and chuckling on occasion as they trade off lyrics on the chorus.
LP closes her show with songs from her last full-length album, 2014’s Forever for Now, including the title track and “Into the Wild,” which prove to be real crowd-pleasers.
LP continues her tour in support of Bryan Ferry tonight, July 29, in New York City, and they tour on together through August 11 in Los Angeles. Along the way, LP fills in some dates with some solo shows (like tomorrow night in Providence, RI). Get yourself out there and see her. And more importantly, listen to her! Her singular voice beckons you to hear it live.
Here are some pictures of LP performing live at U Street Music Hall on July 26, 2016.