Writer Cazz Blase and photographer Melanie Smith brave the sweat pit at O2 Ritz to bring you coverage of LP’s (real name Laura Pergolizzi ) electrifying Heart To Mouth tour, on this sold out show.
Despite the abrupt drop off in temperature these past couple of days, Manchester’s legendary Ritz is humid running to sweaty as the crowd wait, increasingly excitedly, for LP to take to the stage. Her stage backdrop comprises of screens showing green tinged cloudy skyline and lush green woodlands, which feel very apt in these rainforest conditions.
Powers, who are on first, are a lively electro fuelled guitar duo who do a fine job in getting the crowd moving. Alas, it is during their set that someone chucks an empty water bottle backwards into the crowd and it hits the woman standing next to me on the forehead. Her exclamation is on the mild side, given the circumstances.
After much cheering, screaming and premature applauding of the sound crew, LP and her band take to the stage. If the crowd were excited before, they are at fever pitch now. With her cap low over her eyes, sporting skinny black jeans, baggy t-shirt and a jacket that, despite the heat, doesn’t come off once, LP strikes an enigmatic figure, for all that she is smiling and looks very pleased to see us.
She doesn’t talk an awful lot to the crowd, but she moves back and forth across the stage and engages every section of the audience, including those crammed onto balconies to the left and right of the stage. She uses her mic stand and ukulele as props in her performance, and generally owns that stage.
The set is largely dominated by tracks from the current Heart To Mouth album, and they work really well in the live environment, with a harder, rockier edge being given to tracks such as ‘When I’m over you’ and ‘The Power’. What’s really on show though is her voice, not only does she have an incredible vocal range but the emotional scope of the performance also has an operatic scale to it.
The crowd (by and large an exceptionally kind and considerate bunch on my particular section of the floor) know all the words to all the songs. They sing along at full volume and dance enthusiastically. Near the front of the crowd someone waves a banner repeatedly while another brandishes an LP record sleeve. There is a helluva lot of screaming. To the right of me a couple have become slightly separated from each other by a woman who is enthusiastically losing her shit to ‘Girls Go Wild’, and on my left there’s an increasingly amorous couple who, following some very unsteady dancing from the female half of the duo, during which she flails and paws the faces of those around her (including me) eventually depart the floor altogether.
The final encore is ‘Lost on you’, and it’s punctuated by full throated crowd participation. LP departs triumphant, the lights come up, and the crowd pour slowly out of the venue, blinking in the street lights and dripping sweat as they weave their way through the Mancunian night time.
When We’re High
When I’m Over You
No Witness / Sex on Fire
Die for Your Love
One Night in the Sun
Girls Go Wild
House on Fire / Paint It Black
Lost on You
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