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‘Into the Wild’: L.P. at the U Street Music Hall

Written By | Apr 16, 2014

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2014 – There are some singers who have been in the music biz a lot longer than you’d imagine. When L.P. (short for Laura Pergolizzi) performed at the U Street Music Hall recently, your initial reaction might have been that this was the perfect venue for someone like her whom some might have perceived as an up and coming singer.

But as the time for her set to begin grew closer, there were increasing indications that, far from being a relatively new act, L.P., UHall might actually be too small a venue for her fans.

Granted: even though the venue was sold out, not everyone was there to see L.P. who was listed as the opening act. But that still didn’t change the considerable impact she had on the crowd. They might not have all been there for her initially. But, then, why did UHall fill up quicker than someone might expect for an opening act?

Usually, even in a two performance show, people trickle in either during the opening set or just after it concludes. But that was never really the case in this artist’s appearance here.  By the time L.P. launched into her set, it was already difficult to move around the hall’s converted dance floor. That phenomenon alone spoke volumes about the kind of personal and musical journey L.P. took to get to where she is right now. Perhaps the next time she travels to DC, her eyes might be a little bigger.

It’s not fair to say L.P. was a struggling musician before her break finally came over the last year or so. She did release two albums in the early ‘00s and she has numerous songwriting credits scattered across the pop music landscape. Even so, she was nowhere near the known musical quantity she now is until recently.

That all changed when a rock-climbing Citibank commercial aired that featured her single, “Into the Wild.” Not only is that commercial still in rotation nearly two years after it first appeared, allowing people to consistently hear that song. The song has vastly extended its reach since then to an insane number of video views on Youtube.

At this point, it seems like everyone in America—or at least every TV and YouTube addict—knows this song whether they realize it or not. It’s downright addictive.

This is how L.P. finally gained national exposure which gave her that big break at last. The commercial did excellent job of making L.P. and “Into the Wild” of a known and valued quantity, even if it still takes some people a while to figure out exactly who she is.

Oddly enough, she’s only marginally capitalized on the success of “Into the Wild,” since its TV commercial debut, considering she’s only released a single, live EP and a recorded single featuring her now-famous song.

Of course at the same time, the way she’s dealt with this sudden success speaks volumes as to her authenticity as a musician and a songwriter. She’s still taking her time getting used to the limelight despite the clear fact that her career could soar into the stratosphere.

That said, even with this kind of major exposure, such a PR burst will only get a musician so far until critics and fans start asking “What have you done for us lately?” The remaining ground has to be covered by L.P. herself. If she weren’t up to the task, U Street Music Hall wouldn’t have felt so jam-packed when began her set.

What the audience experienced during that set was a short musical novel of what “Into the Wild” is all about, an indie rock performer who has come into her own.  This wasn’t a particularly long set when compared to many. But this gave each of her songs an added sense of urgency, serving to enhance her emotional, quivering vocal style and ever-evolving rock sound.

Everything this artist does onstage seems to engender one inspiring song after the next. Part the big reason each of her songs has that evolutionary feeling is because L.P. never quite lets go of the idea that she’s earned this kind of appreciative fan reaction at last.

It’s never quite clear when an individual singer will reach his or her peak, or whether, at a given time, that singer is even even close to that point. but L.P. at the U Street Music Hall proved to be a great example of a musician starting to recognize her own value and current ascendancy.

The venue, crammed to the max with what at times almost seemed to be human sardines, just added to the feeling that this event was important, like it sometimes does whenever a venue schedules an act that has since overstayed its welcome at clubs of this size. It’s taken L.P. a good bit of time to get to this point in her career. But when a lengthy effort finally results in a show like, you have to include that the effort was well worth it.

Stephen Bradley

Stephen Bradley is an avid music listener and an occasional writer. He grew up in the Washington DC area and has been embedded in the local music scene for years. Currently he lives in Vienna, VA. He enjoys bands that have been broken up for at least a decade.