LP goes back in time in all-out Outside Lands performance

Ryan Tuozzolo/Staff
Ryan Tuozzolo / Staff

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When Laura Pergolizzi, known by fans as LP, stepped onstage, she seemed to come from a different era. Sporting brown suede pants and jacket, a black embroidered top, mirrored sunglasses and a single cross earring, the 37-year-old looked as if she had just stepped out of the 1960s or ‘70s — it was hard to pinpoint.

Other aspects of LP’s persona proved equally ambiguous — as her performance began, LP seemed to more closely resemble a mysterious figure than a genuine human being. A dramatic voice-over set the tone for the performance before the singer even set foot onstage, a choice that worked with Pergolizzi’s bigger-than-life persona. Bright, psychedelic patterns played behind her, moving in time with the music and accentuating the mood.

Though bolstered by more than a few theatrics, LP advanced an overall cool and collected presence onstage, making the spectacle not only attention-grabbing but seemingly natural and easy. Within the first 10 minutes of her set, LP had won over much of her audience. When the grinning singer offered her thanks for the claps and hollers in response to her smoky, raw performance of her original song, “Tightrope,” the audience responded with a resounding “Thank you!”

Such recognition has been long in the making for Pergolizzi. She began her musical career in the early 2000s, but her solo material didn’t go viral until 2014, when she released her album Lost on You. In the intervening years, LP’s material gained the most publicity in the form of writing songs for prominent artists including Rihanna, Cher and Christina Aguilera. Now, with her own recordings taking off, LP is reveling in her turn in the spotlight.

Pergolizzi took full advantage of the opportunity to wow audiences, demonstrating her prowess on ukulele, guitar and harmonica (which she threw to an adoring fan before leaving the stage) as she moved through her set. The musician also showed off her impressive vocal abilities, including her trademark raspy, full-throated vocals, her piercing falsetto, her precision in whistling and her ground-shaking rock ‘n’ roll-esque belt.

By the end of her performance, LP had come down from the lofty, surreal plane where she started. The performer beamed at fans as she closed with “Lost on You,” even inviting one particularly pumped fan (who wore a “21st birthday” sash) onstage. It was a touching gesture — a testament to LP’s genuine appreciation for her hard-earned and well-deserved supporters.

Ryan Tuozzolo covers music. Contact her at [email protected]. Tweet her at @_rtuo.