Across New Orleans, there was a smorgasbord of musical options on Saturday night. For those looking to avoid getting busted down on Bourbon Street, there was the Dead House set delivered by LP Giobbi at the modernized and grandiose Civic Theatre.

Built in 1906 and renovated in 2011, the Civic is the perfect backdrop for large-scale performances and intimate DJ sets. The architectural integrity of the building’s interior has been meticulously preserved, but the posh updates and soft yellow lighting in the foyer make for an inviting and warm entrance. The towering white walls, limited atrium-style balconies, and far-out-of-reach ceilings create a larger-than-life ambiance, which acted as a sublime canvas to drench with disco ball beads and swirls of red, white, and violet lights.

Samples of Jerry Garcia’s voice repeating “everything has to be exactly perfect” blended over a pulsating downbeat set the tone as the room filled with strangers stopping strangers just to say hello.

Giobbi is too pat to open and too cool to bluff. Having been turned on to the Grateful Dead at a young age and studied jazz piano, among other personal highlights of her long strange trip, she has become a festival favorite in recent years. You could tell right away that she’s not like other girls.

From here, there wasn’t as much do-pas-o going on as there were hands in the air and a sea of bodies thrusting side to side, belting the words to a sample of “Come Together”—a simple nod to the longstanding tie between the Beatles and the Dead—as it dropped into the mix and the floor of the Civic bounced.

There’s long been disagreement over the tempos at which songs by the Grateful Dead are performed. Some like ‘em slow, and others prefer speedier renditions, all for various subjective reasons. The constant is the satisfaction that comes from hearing songs in new and refreshing styles from one of the greatest songbooks in American music history.

Softly tickling the keys and slowing the tempo down, Giobbi weaved in calculated surprises and choice moments from a repertoire of Dead staples like “Row Jimmy”, “Truckin'”, and the classic pairing of “Scarlet Begonias” > “Fire on the Mountain”. An extended tease of “The Wheel” zapped the crowd like a 13-point bolt of lightning as they delighted in the songs filling the air.

Giobbi’s ability to isolate familiar guitar sounds and work them into the fabric of her mixes was on full display, and her sophisticated keyboard playing brought the songs to life, adding increased coziness and a bit of live musicianship to her punchy and steady beats. The sample of wordless and improvised vocals by session singer Clare Torry off Pink Floyd’s “The Great Gig in the Sky” was another subtle but captivating element of Giobbi’s set, as were her seamless transitions between tracks, which didn’t feel rushed, but rather patient and intentional.

LP Giobbi kicks off her All In An Airstream 2024 tour on May 2 in Seattle, WA. For tickets and additional information visit her website.

Live For Live Music and GMP Live’s 2024 Fest by Nite series continues with a packed schedule of late-night jams and special performances during Jazz Fest. Programming includes: