Last night, MusicFest NW, one of Portland’s biggest music events of the year, officially began at venues all across the city. Over five days, more than 170 bands will perform at 17 venues around town, including headliners Beirut, Dinosaur Jr and Silversun Pickups, who play the festival’s closing set Sunday night in Pioneer Square.
At the Crystal Ballroom, a band not immediately familiar to many took to the stage with relatively little fanfare, but left it with a flourish of energy that carried over into the evening’s headlining act Passion Pit.
Known simply as LP, the band is led by frontwoman Laura Pergolizzi. This is the first tour for the group and the first time they’ve played in Portland. After their first song, Pergolizzi introduced herself to the growing crowd: “I am LP… Well, we are LP, the band,” she said.
Originally from New York City, Pergolizzi became a fixture in the Los Angeles music scene after an appearance at South by Southwest back in 2006, where she caught the attention of music industry icon and legend L.A. Reid, who signed her to a short-lived songwriting contract. In the years after that initial work, she began to amass an impressive songwriting resume, penning hit songs for acts like the Backstreet Boys and Christina Aguilera, and she co-wrote songs with Rihanna.
Though Pergolizzi self-produced two albums, Heart-Shaped Scar and Suburban Sprawl & Alcohol in 2001 and 2004, it wasn’t until late 2011 that many got the chance to hear the songwriter sing her own words when a YouTube video, uploaded by user “whoislp,” appeared online.
The video captured a live performance of the rustic, soul-stirring and free-spirited ballad “Into the Wild” at the EastWest Studios in West Hollywood, California. The song features the subtle, calming strum of a ukulele (which has become a trademark), along with a powerful and crystal-clear whistle evoking a cowboy western feel. The track would eventually become a part of a 5-song EP release, along with other recordings performed there.
Pergolizzi’s vocals might remind you of another “L.P.,” that being Linda Perry of the popular ‘90s band 4 Non Blondes. Both women possess the ability to project their voices powerfully into an upper octave range, entering into what might seem to be the outskirts of a near operatic scale.
For last night’s Portland audience, LP’s set served as a well-balanced, highly energetic and polished introduction to what the band had to offer.
Go See It!
- MusicFest NW
- Various Portland Venues, September 5-9, 2012
- Visit website