A full house managed to find their way to First Avenue Thursday night through inches of snow and ice.
Laura Pergolizzi, better known as her stage name LP, was set to play to a sold out crowd, and the attendance did not disappoint. While opener Yoke Lore was forced to cancel due to a car accident, the crowd stayed buzzing the entire two hours between doors and when LP finally hit the stage.
Donning a bright orange blazer – with a deep enough V to see her clipper ship chest tattoo – she began the Minneapolis show on her Heart to Mouth tour akin to her eponymous album, with the driving and ethereal “Dreamcatcher.”
Any note that emitted from her throat was piercing and attention-demanding, comparative to Stevie Nick’s range and natural grit with a slight distinct, yet nasally tone reminiscent of Bob Dylan. She could arch from a low alto to a soaring soprano at any moment. And, oh, she did.
Setting the stage with such an expansive song, a quick change into the folky, funky and bass-heavy “When We’re High” brought the first dancing into the hall for the night. It didn’t stop until the lights went up. Her voice is the definition of an instrument, as she switched from the yearning verses of wanting to truly live until death, to the operatic soprano “oh’s” at the song’s end with ease.
“Dreamer” followed as the third song in the setlist, and it was evident there would be a multitude of tempo, key and mood changes throughout the show, keeping listeners on their toes as they watched her traverse across the stage in the orange blazer over a black and white polka dot shirt.
She belted through that slower anthemic track with an almost hip hop-inspired backbone. It’s hard to imagine how anyone could sing along to the height of that chorus’ notes… but many of those in attendance surely tried.
Moving then into Glass Animals-esque dreamy rock, shouts of “SOME DAY, SOME DAY” rang through the venue as everyone sang along, wondering along with LP in “When I’m Over You.”
Many, if not all, of her songs had a familiar element to them, even if one had never heard it before. It was quick for all (even the bouncers) to listen, learn and then sing along all night.
“No Witness” started with the band and nearly everyone in the venue clapping along to the slower yet harder track. The pure rock in her voice excelled, and the driving power of the instruments was matched only by her strut; this woman without a doubt knows how to work a crowd.
It was almost no surprise, then, how easily they all strut right into “Sex on Fire,” a Kings of Leon cover.
She still controls the crowd when the songs are not her own, and that power translated right into singing of giving an ex-lover in “The Power.” Despite the trouble she sang about, it is evident her voice has the real power. As a guitar pedal, synth effect or violin’s vibrato can alter how a song is felt, she did that all in her voice. Whether it meant adding a bit of a growl, lift or whisper, she knew what to do.
“I gave you forever, my secrets, my soul untold, I gave you the great unknown,” she sang in almost a bit of a country-rock twang, growl and sass. The stripped vocal and bass duet in the second verse showed the band’s ability to feature different aspects of each other’s talent, both alone and combined. No one over-shone anyone else, even as LP’s voice was obviously the showcase of the night
While pulling from only two albums (fully ignoring her 2017 release, Forever For Now) the composition of the set list showed that much thought was put in to the selection and arrangement of songs. Moving perfectly from driving rock tunes to slow and yearning ballads to emotional break-up ballads, that balance made sure there wasn’t an “off” section of the night, allowing each song to shine on its own.
“One Night in the Sun” brought a slow, hypnotic vibe, as Lana Del Rey and HAIM similarly can, bringing the listener to another place. Whether driving in a car on an oceanside highway or lounging on a grassy hill, she took us all somewhere far away from the white-out snow storm happening outside.
Keeping that summery theme, which was much welcomed that 0-degree night, she brought in “Girls Go Wild” with a melodic bass line, distant guitar riffs and a vocal echo. The room was once again transformed and moved – all while moving and bobbing along in the “wild, wild west.”
Everyone was moving and the room was engaged for the entire show. Sold out shows do not promise this energy, but every ticket holder seemed to react to the music as if they all wanted to be in the front row, as if they all wanted to be the first to clap, as if they all wanted to show LP how much they were enjoying her, as well as themselves.
Moving along, performing “Recovery” with only her pianist as accompaniment was a peak emotional moment. Her breaking voice recounted the recovery from a breakup, from sleeping in their clothes and trying to not talk on the phone. She is a master of getting the listener to empathize and physically feel the pain she is or was going through – even if those listeners never had such a hard time. The plethora of phones recording the track showed it was one many most likely understood.
Her songs and voice portray an emotion of deep sadness that isn’t only sad, but almost tragic. Yet, she avoids the easy trap of sappiness with her honest lyrics. From those, she made real, human connections with those in the room – even those closer to bliss than heartbreak.
From that emotional tension, she moved back into to the musical tension in the bluesy “House on Fire” – transitioning perfectly into the second cover of the night, The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black.” While the tempo and emotion of the music matched the set perfectly, the persona of Mick Jagger could also be seen in LP as she paraded around the stage, laying her emotions down as well as her boots.
Later moving into the driving pop ballad of “Special,” the quick snare got everyone dancing yet again. And oh, did the audience take advantage of the pace perfect for jumping and clapping.
With a “Love you Minneapolis – goodnight!” LP then ran off stage, jumping down the stairs. But it was mere minutes before she was back up under the lights – donning her original orange blazer once again – for the final song of the night, “Lost on You.”
Working her way back and forth on stage, pointing and interacting with the crowd, it was obvious that, for one last time, she had full control of the night. Acting as a conductor of sorts, she guided the sing-along of the chorus and subsequent “oh oh’s,” bringing the show to a close with seemingly every voice singing the final notes.
LP thrives on stage. Her range is evident, not only in her powerhouse vocals, but also in song style and choice. For any stage of love and life, she has a track to get listeners through with her distinct, driving and soulful performance.