LP possesses a certain je ne sais quoi which makes her presence onstage an object of infatuation. She defines range not just with her unique sound color or characteristic glassy whistle, but with bracingly open lyrics covering love, sex, money and social justice—to name a few. On Saturday, the androgynously-clothed singer/songwriter stepped onstage to conduct a livestream concert for millions of virtual fans worldwide and her performance was astonishing.
Her instrument of choice, LP sets the tone of the show by pulling out a ukulele for the first song, “When We’re High.” The track comes off her massively successful 2016 record Lost On You and perfectly defines the artist’s ability to offer something to adore for music lovers across all scopes. LP is effortlessly cool onstage, walking with a nonchalant swagger to drop the ukulele before belting out a chilling high note with the final chorus and introducing us to her insane vocal timbre.
LP’s lyrical genius shines through in “Dreamer,” a track she sits down on a stair to perform. The bridge lyrics, “Baby don’t dream on,” make an ironic allusion to Aerosmith’s iconic 1973 hit “Dream On.” LP’s voice is shaky, forlorn and howling in this track as she begs her lover to make a metaphorical return.
Adding onto the instrumental ensemble, LP whips out a harmonica for the seventh track on the set list, “Strange.” She wears a proud smirk on her lips as she sings the lyrics, “We are all strange/ And it ain’t never gonna change.” She even manages to make accidentally dropping a harmonica mid-flip look cool, laughing it off with casual remarks; “It’s not a concert unless I drop the harmonica,” she jokes.
Every great artist inevitably conjures up a timeless breakup ballad, and LP’s is “Recovery.” The atmosphere shifts for this track as LP is left standing alone with a pianist behind her while the previously orange-tinted stage fades to dark. It’s a pathetically honest melody, as LP sings the pre-chorus lyrics, “I can’t stop sleeping in your clothes/ you can’t stop calling on the phone.”
With obvious excitement, LP shares a new song which summons cello and violin players to the stage, adding to the orchestral element of her new sound. The song, titled, “The One That You Love,” showcases the artist’s rough-edge vocals, her tone thick and angry, an emotion which builds up to a powerful final chorus after which she thanks the musicians for joining her and takes their place with a tambourine against her hip.
Perhaps the heaviest track on Lost On You, “Muddy Waters” is an intimidating performance to witness live. The song is characterized by strong electric guitar riffs, the echo of a tambourine and some pretty menacing bass. Taking a completely different turn, “Girls Go Wild” is cautiously optimistic. An upbeat indie-pop tune with simultaneously heart-wrenching lyrics about a possible end to a relationship, LP reclaims her airy confidence with this song.
As the end encroaches LP introduces the final two songs for the evening, first dedicating “Special,” a thrilling track off of her 2018 record Heart To Mouth, to her fans. Synth meets a strong punk rock influence in this fiery performance which features LP on the electric guitar as she duels it out onstage with her guitarist, Alex Feder. The perfect closer, “Lost On You,” a song which earned LP a name and place in popular music, has a little something for all ears. It’s upbeat and catchy while also carrying the pitiful desperation that comes with making great art out of failed relationships, a craft she perfects.
With a kiss and a wave goodbye she makes her exit, putting an end to an exhilarating livestream concert and proving once more that all musical comparisons fall short of providing just one word to adequately describe LP as an artist.
When We’re High
Into The Wild
The One That You Love
Girls Go Wild
Lost On You
Photo Credit: Stephen Hoffmeister