Currently writing this from the couch, where I’ve been completely immobile since last Saturday’s LANY show. Not sure if it’s the fact that I haven’t screamed that much since 2019 or if I’m just headed downhill at the ripe age of 25. I just can’t hang like I used to.
I’ve been following LANY for five years now. Those five years have been incredibly transformative, and I feel so fortunate to have lived through those years soundtracked by this band. 3 full-length albums and 5 live shows later, this dumb little boyband has me fully in the palm of their hand.
The 3-piece indie-pop band from Los Angeles, California consists of frontman Paul Klein, drummer Jake Goss, and guitarist and keyboardist Les Priest. The name LANY is an acronym for “Los Angeles New York”, which is a bit ironic considering Paul Klein is from the Middle of Nowhere, Oklahoma.
Before I get too deep into the live show, I gotta get a little vulnerable with you. I mean, that’s the whole point of this blog, isn’t it? LANY played a pivotal role in my college experience and all of the ups and downs (let’s be honest – it was mostly downs) that accompanied it. When I discovered LANY, I was about to head into my third and final year of college. I’ll spare you the gritty details, but my first two years of college were ROUGH, mainly due to a slew of mental and physical health issues. Going into my final year though, I was cautiously optimistic, and LANY’s poppy, lovesick melodies were exactly what I needed. Although the nights spent driving down PCH, windows down, “Malibu Nights” blasting are over, they will always be a part of me. So much so that I have a tiny crescent moon tattooed on my forearm to commemorate both my time in college and the impact of LANY’s album, Malibu Nights.
That’s the state of mind I was in the very first time I saw LANY. My friends and I waited for 10 hours on the sidewalk in the rain outside of the Fonda Theater. Nothing compares to the smell and vibes of a soggy Hollywood Boulevard. By the time we got into the venue, we were soaking wet and exhausted, but the rain water was quickly replaced by sweat and the exhaustion with pure adrenaline. I even met Paul Klein after the show and still have the cringey Instagram post to prove it.
The next time I saw LANY was at the Wiltern, a slightly larger venue but one of my favorites in the city. It was later in my third year of college, and the mounting pressure of finals, graduation and post-grad life had left me with some pent up rage/stress/sadness/*insert emotion here* that I needed to release. This time around we were situated so perfectly in the crowd that I ended up on Paul Klein’s Instagram looking absolutely incredible as ever. If you look closely you can see the looming fear of the unknown in my eyes. But actually, don’t look too close. This photo is hilarious but very unflattering.
Ah yes, the fateful Greek Theater show of 2019. This one’s a doozy. So the story goes that I was supposed to see LANY at the Greek Theater with a big group of friends. A couple of weeks before the show, one friend (who will remain nameless because I will never forgive her for abandoning me *just kidding, love you Rachel*) let me know she could no longer attend the show. No big deal, right? I’ll find someone else to join me and my friends. Intro Bumble Boy. I had been talking to this guy on Bumble for a few days and thought it would be super cool and empowering to ask him if he wanted to come to the show in Rachel’s place. Much to my delight, he agreed. It was a date.
Fast forward to the night of the show. I’m carpooling to the venue with a friend, and I give him a heads up that I’m going to be meeting a boy at the show for a first date. My friend, understandably, is shocked and feels bad for “crashing” the date, but I reassure him that it’s fine and that I’m actually glad my friends will be with me. This is when it gets even weirder because my CAR BREAKS DOWN. A tow truck and $1,000 in mechanic fees later, my car is fine, but I just wanted to emphasize how strange this night was. Anyway, the date goes very well, and I really like the guy. Was it a little weird to be on a first date in front of a bunch of friends? Sure, but we all have a great time, and things went really well with Bumble Boy until he ghosted me after two dates. All that to say LANY has quite literally soundtracked parts of my life.
Two years and a global pandemic later, I finally feel redeemed in regards to LANY live shows. Last Saturday night’s show at the Forum was one of the biggest headline shows LANY has ever played. It was so surreal to be sitting in the 17,000-capacity arena when the first time I saw the band live they were playing to a crowd of 1,200. A real proud mom moment if I’ve ever seen one. It felt so good to be with my friends, singing the songs that got me through some of the best and some of the toughest points of my life. Every LANY song conjures such a specific memory in my mind, and that’s a connection I don’t have with many other artists.
Get out your Lactaid because I’m about to get super cheesy. I really do feel like I’ve grown up right alongside the band. Both of us started small, insecure, still trying to find what makes us US, and now here we are truly living, grown, and doing things we never thought we’d be doing. I love this dumb little boyband.
Before you give me crap for choosing to highlight the one song that everyone probably already knows, let me explain. This song encapsulates everything that is LANY. Lyrics about love over soaring instrumentals and that dreamy pop sound that stays in your head forever. ‘ILYSB’ is a staple for a reason. And if you really want to dig deep, deep into those feelings you’ve been suppressing, listen to the stripped version of this song.
This is my favorite LANY music video. The choreography, the matching outfits à la literally every boy band ever, the colors, the (don’t hate me for using this word) AESTHETIC. This one just really does it for me. I will admit I’ve been telling myself I’ll learn the choreography to this since the video first came out in 2017, and rewatching it for the first time in a while is reigniting that desire. I think it’s just been too long since I went to a Zumba class.
Ex I Never Had
A song about a situationship. We’ve all been there. Are we together? Are we dating? Is this promising enough that I can tell my friends about you? And then of course the second you tell a friend that you’re talking to someone, that someone vanishes into thin air every. single. time. ‘Ex I Never Had’ has the classic LANY Groove. It’s so dancey and upbeat but, the second you stop and listen to the lyrics, you’re hit with the realization that what he’s singing about is actually super upsetting and hits a little too close to home. It’s all fun and games until the lyrics smack you in the face. And THAT, my friends, is what makes LANY LANY.