What do you get when you mix one part brilliant songwriter, one part jaw-dropping voice, and two generous portions of unmatched stage presence? You get the indomitable LP, whose new album, Churches, brings personal and universally relatable songs front and center.
And I have to say, as a fan who has seen this artist perform over the years, their live shows are to die for, so it was tough to see tours get pushed back or canceled during the pandemic. But on Friday, LP was back in DC, and at The Anthem, no less, to bring it all back.
Having had to postpone one tour after another, LP even joked between songs that it seemed like it seemed like 15 years since the last time they were in DC. But regardless of how long it truly has been, it felt so good to have them back in the nation’s capitol on May 6 — and for a couple of hours, this crowd took some shelter from the evening rain and into the church of song.
For those not in the know, LP’s voice is something that has to be experienced to be believed. It’s incredibly powerful, almost otherworldly, but belongs to a very down-to-earth persona that makes this connection with their audience that’s like few others. And it’s not only their musicianship but a lot of the subject matter in those songs — songs of wanting to be loved, of trying to belong, with lyrics like “we are all strange / and we are never ever gonna change” from “Strange”; “My Body” with the sentiment “everybody needs a little somebody”; or how in the title track from Churches there’s this statement of wanting a place of “no questions asked, no one to judge.” It’s that search for connection, of belonging that is so many gravitate toward. So, it was with great joy that I had the chance to witness LP again, and this time at their biggest venue in DC to date — The Anthem.
After a great opening set by fellow LA resident Nick Leng, LP, born Laura Pergolizzi, took the stage to “Poem,” coincidentally the closing track on Churches, to a huge applause. As they made their way across the stage and up onto a raised platform mid-stage the lights shone through, backlighting the silhouette of LP as they went into “When We Touch” from the new album. And when the chorus started in that band kicked up the dust with thundering lines that made the hall shake. This was clearly an LP that was ready to rock after so long without live shows.
Strumming with a ukulele, LP played through “Goodbye,” arms out at times toward the audience and not skipping a beat. It was incredible how the new songs seemed like old favorites as LP and the band went from one to he next, and so many in the crowd were singing along. Hearing them coming out of a speaker on your living room floor is one thing, but experiencing a live LP show is something else entirely, and these new songs had a life of their own on that stage.
Stopping for a moment in the middle of “The One That You Love” after one fan had passed out, LP made sure that everyone was okay before re-starting the song from the top and telling a funny story about how their brother, a doctor, would have had a few words if they didn’t stop to make sure everyone was safe.
More than once, in between songs, someone would yell out, “I love you, LP!” And after the song, “Muddy Waters,” LP brought Alex Feder, their long-time guitarist, front and center to sit beside them to perform “Rainbows” and “Churches” – both songs with a notably acoustic, quieter feel.
Watch the official music video for “How Low Can You Go” by LP on YouTube:
Most of the night was devoted to the newer songs, but there were favorites like “Muddy Waters” and “Strange.” And for an added treat, LP brought out Nick Leng, the opener on their tour, to perform alongside for the song they co-wrote, “My Body.” And there was, of course, fan favorites “Lost On You” and “Into the Wild” saved for the encore.
One heck of a return by LP to DC! And if you have the opportunity, it’s a show not to be missed as LP continues their world tour.
When We Touch
Girls Go Wild
Everybody’s Falling in Love
When We’re High
How Low Can You Go
The One That You Love
Can’t Let You Leave
One Last Time
Into the Wild
Lost on You
Here are more photos of LP performing at The Anthem on Friday, May 6, 2022. All photos courtesy and copyright David LaMason.