Experiencing a great performance is always a joy, even more so when unexpected. Packed inside a sold-out Ogden Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 25, I made my preparations for LANY by sifting through a crowd of visibly excited girls to grab a beer, noting it would be a good few years before many in the crowd could do the same. This isn’t to say I expected the performance to be of a low quality. However, based on my listen through of their R&B-splashed, dream-pop, self-titled debut album, and the audience consisting of an overwhelming majority of adolescent girls, I wasn’t exactly expecting the show to be my thing. (For reference, my last two concert experiences have been death metal and a jam band, in that order.) But to my delight, the band combated my initial cynicism with a performance that pleased the ears and eyes.
After initially teasing the audience before the show by fading out the house music and lights on multiple occasions, LANY walked onto their well-constructed stage. The band immediately used the three large screens to bathe the audience in aesthetic lighting to launch into their opening song “Dumb Stuff.”
I immediately noticed what drew in this particular crowd as lead singer Paul Klein waltzed on stage. With tight, black pants, a long sleeve button-up with the top three buttons tactically undone and long, curly hair, he looked like he had walked right out of the shower and into the hearts of the audience.
Drummer Jake Goss and Guitarist/Keyboardist Les Priest filled the background. Klein’s charisma fronted the stage. I will be damned if I wasn’t swept away by the luscious locks of the vocalist, yelling with glee along with my adolescent companions with every flip of his curly hair.
From that point forward, the band launched into song after song of rhythmic dream-pop perfection. Each new song was played nearly flawlessly by all members of the group. I could detect no missed beats or wrong notes throughout the duration of the show. This may have something to do with the backing tracks played alongside the performance — something I usually detest in live shows. However the group displayed true talent from each member. They displayed their abilities on multiple instruments and let the backing track only account for some atmospheric synths.
In addition to the musical talent, each track brought with it a new visual, perfectly detailed by the three high quality screens backing the stage. From flashing lights that matched the beats, to a subdued blue sheen, to video of the actual audience, the display kept attention on the stage and directed at the band. Songs like “Flowers on the Floor” captured the show at its best, with moody visuals on display. This combined with a groovy beat and Klein winging with swagger at the front of the stage, while flowers were thrown at him from the crowd. The music itself may not be right up my alley, but it sure as hell was a fun alley to be in.
This was especially so as the crowd was engaged the entire time. It might have had something to do with the boyish charm, but combined with the well-performed music and engaging visuals the show kept the audience on their feet and energetic all the way through the end of their encore performance of “ILYSB.” This was on a Wednesday night I might add.
If I had one complaint, it would perhaps be a lack of experimentation, as every song sounded nearly pitch perfect to what I heard from the studio recordings. Now it may be nitpick-y to complain about a near flawless performance but it is nice to have a little spice added to tracks for live shows.
Overall, I can’t really complain. From a band whose music I was indifferent towards and in a crowd I did not feel at home in, the band managed to provide an entertaining and charismatic show that will stay with me, even if their tracks don’t end up in my playlist.
Yea, Babe, No Way
Flowers On the Floor
Made in Hollywood
It Was Love
WHERE THE HELL ARE MY FRIENDS
Pancakes/Sign of the Times/Current Location
(Harry Styles cover)
Contact CU Independent Arts Editor Austin Willeke at firstname.lastname@example.org.