Have you ever noticed how much current live arrangements of the songs included on the Death Valley EP differ from how LP and her band used to play them? The famous Harvard and Stone Live Sessions are one example of the early performances. But there are some others, dated 2015/2016, that are really interesting in terms of the arrangement, conception, and rendition.
Still frame from the Deezer Sessions video
1. Muddy Waters – live at The Sayers Club (October 16th, 2015)
When it comes to the sound of the instruments, 2015’s version of “Muddy Waters” is way more gentle and soothing than the current one. The track itself is less powerful, more low-key. Both guitar and drums are delicate, almost bluesing, and the overall arrangement of the first part is moody and nostalgic. Those deep soul vibes are highlighted mainly by the drums. The darkest part starts from the second chorus, the song gets more raw, it moves closer to the current arrangement. LP’s vocal gets more and more sharp as the song develops, and all other sounds get stronger and sharper, too. Early “Muddy Waters” live versions take you on a journey, from soothing beginning to dramatic end. The current one puts a spell on you at once, from the first sound, it’s so mighty and overpowering.
2. Lost On You – Deezer sessions (around Oct, 2016)
There are earlier versions of “Lost On You,” dated as far back as 2015, but we’ve decided to pick the Deezer session. After all, it was recorded prior to LP’s three tours, so kind of early, too (okay, it’s a bit far-fetched, but we have an agenda here, so…) We love the Deezer session to bits and this is because of the arrangement, and especially due to the sound of percussion. The deep-sound, well-thought out drums by Matt Mayhall. Starting from around the 1 minute 30 second mark of the performance, his drums get so spacious and rich in sound, that they define the overall mood of this particular “Lost On You.” You can really get lost in what you hear and feel through his performance.
And here’s what Deezer had to say about this royal character in the middle of the set: “If that doesn’t give you an idea of her raw talent, nothing will.” Well, looks like LP’s talent is beyond Deezer’s words, so let’s leave it at that. Maybe just one thing: she is as close to the album vocal as it gets here. Oh, and she still has that little rattle she luckily gave up before her Lost In Europe tour.
3. Strange – live at Radio 2 Social Club (June 16th, 2016)
Here is “Strange,” from one year back, an absolutely stunning version performed for Italian Radio 2. And it is one of best performances of this song, ever. LP had been still playing “Strange” on guitar back then, before she dropped it for the Lost In Europe tour and the following performances. When she begins to sing, the host’s facial expression says it all. Compared to current performances, this version swings like crazy! Which is mainly thanks to Trevor Menear’s characteristic guitar. Oh, and she looks 18 here, maybe 20. We’d ask for her ID before selling her any tequila.
4. Death Valley – live at the No Vacancy club (November 17th, 2015)
“Death Valley” hasn’t changed much over the last 1.5 years, and the main difference would be, again, Trevor’s guitar. It’s so different compared to JD’s deep, heart-breaking, Gilmour-like sound. Trevor’s notes are jazzy, kind of happy, almost country, and they give this joyful touch to any song. Here this is not the case, but still “Death Valley” is a bit more cheerful and less rock’n’roll than its 2017 version.
(video not available any more)
5. Other People – live at The Echo club (March 14th, 2016)
And here’s the moment when Trevor’s energetic sound contrasts a lot with the mood of the song. This “Other People” arrangement is a rarity, very funky and jazzy, and almost completely stripped of all the drama that it has now. What links the music with lyrics is noticeable only through LP’s vocals in Echo performance. Even the percussion is jazzy and it corresponds more with the guitar than with her singing. And in general, Echo’s “Other People” is a completely different song compared to the EP version or current live performances.