Guest post by Jason C.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
I am quite sure that no fan of LP’s music living in Vancouver expected her to be back so soon… after all, she was just in town this past April 23rd at the wonderful Orpheum Theatre, wrapping up the North American leg of the (at the time) brand-new Heart to Mouth Tour. I remember leaving the theatre and having this conversation with a few people around me: the show was so good, and we all hoped LP would be back next year. When the Vancouver Mural Festival announced this year’s wrap up concert at the park, I was thrilled to see that LP was headlining. I believe that Anna did a great job in contextualizing the Vancouver Mural Festival and its place and significance in local culture in the article below, so, without further ado, I am going to dive straight into the music.
I – The Opening Acts
Jason Sulyma (aka My!Gay!Husband!) opened festivities around 4 in the afternoon, and despite the park being relatively empty, the DJ did a great job in keeping everyone entertained. Unfortunately, I don’t have the setlist, but the songs were all good and danceable. I saw a few people dancing near the stage all afternoon, and my aunt (who is also an LP fan and has been to LP’s last three concerts here with me) and I would often look at each other and comment on how good the songs were. It was an outstanding and entertaining selection of tunes.
After the DJ set, Canadian singer iskwē took the stage. I haven’t heard her music before, and was truly impressed: the mix of rock, pop, with electronic beats and Indigenous rhythms, made a powerful combination into extremely emotional music. She is a talented singer, possesses outstanding stage presence, and her band is also technically acute. All elements combined, iskwē gave me the impression that she and her band can go anywhere they want in terms of career directions. If they want to remain in the indie scene, they seem to have enough talent and soul to be atop the culture, but if they want to push a bit and write songs that would be a little more commercial and dab into the waters of attempting to reach out for more popular appeal, I totally got the feeling that they can do that as well. I look forward to seeing more of them.
After iskwē, came beloved Canadian act BadBadNotGood. They had the second largest fanbase in attendance at the mural festival, for sure, given that quite a few people walked up to the stage and a bit of a crowd formed. I have known them for a while, despite not personally being a fan of their music. They are extremely talented young men, and without doubt, are unique and creative: you can tell by seeing them that art runs through their veins. However, despite acknowledging their talent and strong fan base, I personally am not enthusiastic about jazz-fusion, post-bop, instrumental-experimental jazz.
I have dabbed in the genre and listened to quite a few records in the past, and I believe that Ethiopia’s Mulatu Astatke and Brazil’s Hurtmold were such innovative, powerful, and ahead-of-the-game creative forces, that the genre now seems tired to me, given that I don’t believe anyone was ever as innovative and fresh as the aforementioned, except perhaps Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld coming a bit close. So I enjoyed watching them play, and with all due respect to the band and their loyal fanbase, their music seemed outdated and out of place, but not due to their own fault – as I said – the genre seemingly exhausted itself, such as 1980’s hard rock, or ska.
II – The Main Event: LP is Back in Town, Fast and Furious!
A few minutes after the jazz-fusion Canadian musicians, came LP. She opened with Dreamcatcher, which is indeed a good song to set the tone, cleanse the palate, and get the ball rolling. But after Dreamcatcher things got a bit crazy. I ask my reader to read the setlist, below:
Photo by Jason C. – Setlist courtesy of Cassie Jean (Instagram.com/cassiejean444)
Now, every single song in that setlist, from When We’re High down to Lost on You seemed arranged slightly heavier than the original recordings, and slightly heavier than I remember the April 23rd show being. LP was in a frenzy, jumping around, slamming the tambourine, jumping on the drum kit, pointing at fans, teasing the audience… she was on fire! We saw Laren Ruth Ward hiding behind the wall of amps, taking pictures, and it was a pity that she didn’t at least pop onto the stage to sing a song or two with LP… that would have been real fun! But the show was great, notwithstanding.
I don’t really have much else to say regarding the show. It was just interesting to observe how LP dropped Recovery and all other slower ballads. As I’ve said in my review of the April 23rd set, LP’s fans also love her ballads, so a mid-set acoustic session with, say, Switchblade, Recovery and Forever for Now, for example, could’ve offered a different type of emotional catharsis between artist and audience, but the fast paced, rock n’roll attitude I hinted that LP was increasingly embracing also works just fine, but on a different level.
In sum, if you were to ask me where I think LP’s music is headed… well, given that she acknowledged in a recent interview that she identifies, fundamentally, as a rock n’ roll singer, and considering she is playing classic rock covers, I’d bet that her next record might be a bit heavier, and rock-oriented. To be fair, I wouldn’t actually place a bet, because LP’s genius resides in her versatility, so, in truth, she can do whatever she wants musically.
But she seems to be hinting at a return to heavier songs, perhaps in the same vain as Heart-shaped Scar or Suburban Sprawl and Alcohol. We shall wait and see what she will do. For now, she’s clearly having a blast with Heart to Mouth and I am super curious to know what she’s been writing while on the road.
III – Connecting with LP Fans
The best thing about an LP concert is obviously LP herself. The second-best thing is the community of regular, loyal fans that attend the concert. I absolutely loved seeing the same people again, fans that I’ve met last year and who still follow LP: folks who drove from the Okanagan Valley, who flew in from Mexico… I am so sorry I don’t remember everyone’s names, but I’m glad people remember mine and come up to me shouting “Jason!”, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that few times I’ve contributed to Anna’s LP Official Blog, so people sort of remember me and keep me in mind.
photo courtesy of Jason C. – thank you – that’s Jason’s own favourite pic of LP
It is always also a pleasure to meet new fans, and I met quite a few. Some people seeing LP for the first, second, third times, and as always, a mixture of ages, ethnicities, orientations. LP’s music really does bring the most diverse people together in celebration. This was by far, the concert with the most children I have ever seen in my entire life. There were infants wearing LP t-shirts and bandanas running around everywhere, and there were parents holding up their toddlers who were clapping and screaming along with LP. It was truly surprising to me, as I don’t recall ever seeing kids so young at a concert before.
Once again, I want to thank Anna for giving space for my thoughts, feelings and impressions regarding LP’s music, and thank you, dear reader, for reading. Hope to see you all around again soon!