The first time I saw LANY in concert was in the spring of this year, in an intimate venue in London, just before the release of their debut album. In the time that has passed since, they have garnered much acclaim and cemented a place amongst the most exciting artists around right now. On a recent wintry evening in Bristol, I went to see LANY again, this time in a larger venue – the O2 academy – and I was full of anticipation for the evening ahead. The band, composed of three friends from a Californian university, took to the stage with total confidence and kickstarted the night with a vivacious performance from their frontman Paul Klein. Dressed in a comfortable looking jumper and some fantastically patterned trousers, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Heath Ledger in ’10 Things I Hate About You’ as Paul strode around with total command. As he swept back his extraordinary mop of long, dark hair, he appeared almost as a charming surfer type; oozing confidence and control.
This showmanship certainly paid off, as the audience found themselves dancing along carelessly with Paul while the band stormed through some of their most underrated songs, taken straight from their early EPs.These early tracks, in fact, served as some of the best performances of the evening, particularly when it came to the cotton-candy infused ‘Pink Skies.’ This is a track that perfectly depicts those woozy, idealistic days of first love, bursting with images of jubilant colour. LANY performed the song with ease, and as they invited us to join them under said ‘pink skies’, they evoked a sense of warmth that struck a deep contrast with the frosty surroundings of Bristol on a December night.
The joyous atmosphere carved out by the trio remained dominant throughout the first half of the show, and the audience could not help but lose themselves as Paul’s infectious energy filtered through the crowd.After having us dance without care by playing ‘Good Girls’ – which examines the process of pining for a past lover amidst a blistering disco beat – LANY led us into sombre territory. ‘The Breakup’ is the song that began our journey into a subdued final half, as the band lamented on our tendency as fickle humans to neglect what we have while we have it. When ‘The Breakup’ ended, we were left to stew in our thoughts, to consider ways of rectifying our mistakes while purple light beams splice across the stage.
At the eventual finale we were given a whole-hearted cover of Harry Styles’ ‘Sign of The Times’ by a melancholy Paul at the piano. It was a welcome surprise, and certainly helped to bring us nicely towards the show’s crescendo, as LANY ended their time in Bristol with two of their most popular tracks. ‘Super Far’ was the penultimate performance of the night, and its portrayal of a heart broken by indifference solidly reinforced the idea that LANY are not here to sing only of saccharine romances, but to convey the messiness of real life. Finally, the evening ended with ‘ILYSB’; the track that launched the band out of obscurity and into the indie spotlight. A moving ode to devotion in the modern age, marked by colloquialisms and acronyms, ‘ILYSB’ was the perfect way to end a night of joy and promise for LANY. What they do next is bound to be one of the most thrilling aspects of music in 2018, and is something that I look forward to immensely.