LANY's sold-out show last Sunday was nothing short of an inspired homecoming. The native Los Angeles indie-pop band has been on the road all year, supporting artists like Ellie Goulding and Troye Sivan in the US and the UK. They kicked off their first headlining tour in May and spent the summer performing at festivals including Bonnaroo and Outside Lands. They set out in September on their second headlining tour to support their Kinda EP.
The three-piece played two sold-out nights at the Fonda Theatre in the city of their namesake this weekend. Sunday's show marked the last of the year for the band comprised of lead singer, guitarist, and keyboardist Paul Klein, drummer Jake Goss, and guitarist and keyboardist Les Priest. The ending was more than likely a bittersweet end to a pivotal year for the band.
It was an unusually rainy day in LA, but that didn't stop fans from camping out the night before to get a coveted spot on the barricade. I spoke to fans who had arrived for the 9:00 pm show at 10:30 am, using trash bags as their armor against the stormy weather. For some context, LANY's fan base is predominately made up of teenage girls, and while other bands might shy away from the negative stigma that tends to come with this demographic, the band completely embraces it.
This fan base, many dressed in LANY merchandise, sparked a frenzied energy into the air from the moment I walked in. The wait for LANY, following opening band Transviolet, seemed to flash by. As soon as lead singer Paul Klein spoke into the microphone before the show for a quick soundcheck, an excited chatter spread throughout the Fonda Theatre. Moments later, the curtain opened to a visual of Whitney Houston's infamous rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."
The band took the stage during the last couple of notes and opened the show with the light and poppy "4EVER!" Klein locked in with the audience almost immediately, and his gaze remained for the rest of the concert.
During one of the band's first singles, "Bad, Bad, Bad," Paul jumped off the stage and onto the barricades to be closer to fans. The ecstatic front row wrapped their arms around Klein to stabilize him. The singer took his time, tending to the crowd before he hopped back on stage to finish out the track, complete with a fan's floral bouquet in hand.
The band bounced around from EP to EP, playing just about every song they've released with the exception of "I Don't Care" and "Kiss." Paul admitted that he was losing his voice, but he promised fans he wasn't going to "pull a Kanye" and leave them without finishing the show. He showed them exactly what he meant by ripping through "Made In Hollywood" with raw energy.
That song, along with "pink skies," speak to the band's hometown roots and created a sense of dreamy familiarity. I recently moved to Los Angeles and I know that the sentimental feeling evident throughout the entire crowd could only be felt in LANY's hometown. Los Angeles is a town buzzing with opportunity and excitement, and LANY managed to flood the theatre with this spirit during the two tracks. I found myself falling in love with the city all over again. Every song was backed by visuals, so even though it was a rainy evening, "pink skies" transported us to a gorgeous LA afternoon. The visual display changed with each song and undoubtedly added to the electric vibe of the show.
The band also played an unreleased track called "dumb stuff." Thanks to live videos from previous shows and a posting of the lyrics from the song by the band back in April, the fans didn't miss a beat and sang along with Klein to every word.
The 13-track set breezed by thanks to the effortlessly cool factor LANY brought to the stage. Closing out the night, the band ended their set with a delicately beautiful rendition of "current location." A small spotlight shown on Klein and his keyboard, as he sang out an emotional plea for a lost love. If Paul's voice was wavering, he showed no signs of it during the ballad.
No solid show is complete without an encore. The band came back on stage for two more songs, "Walk Away" and their most popular hit, "ILYSB." In between the tracks, a playback of an old voicemail from Goss' mother the speakers. She was checking in on the band in what sounded like their early stages, and asked very sweetly for them to dedicate a song to her. This personal touch is just an example of what made this show feel so inclusive. I genuinely felt a connection to other fans and the band throughout the entire show. It felt like the band wanted to be there for the fans, just as much as the fans wanted to be there for the band. That inclusivity at a venue that holds 1,200 people is incredibly rare.
Following "ILYSB," the band thanked their fans, took a bow, and Klein handed his guitar out to one lucky fan who was later escorted backstage.
In conclusion, LANY knows how to make serious feel-good, floaty music, and with over 1 million monthly Spotify listeners, it's clearly working in their favor. The kicker is that they do it even better live. With an effortless connection to fans and an intriguing use of visual display as a backdrop, LANY is a must-see band live.