Updated: Jul 25, 2019
The air in Margaret Court Arena is thick with anticipation, and looking down at the mosh from the seats above it’s hard to pin-point a single punter who’s not sporting an ear-to-ear grin. Eager and buzzing with energy, high-pitched chatter fills the space around us as fans get together to compare favourite songs, tie-dye band merch, and predictions of the set list to come. Despite having frequented the Australian shores a number of times before (including the very noteworthy performance at Splendour in The Grass in 2017), this will be the first time most audience members will get to experience their favourite American Indie-Pop band LANY in the flesh. As the lights begin to dim and the first eruption of excited screaming begins, it’s definitely safe to say it also won’t be their last.
First to the stage, Los Leo (Tom Montesi) who does a great job of setting the mood for the entire show in the effortlessly cool way he slings a black and red guitar over his shoulder. Springing straight into crowd favourite ‘Keep You Warm’, the pounding bass line, dance vocals and catchy melody gives us the first taste of the night to come. Self described as “the music your lover plays on a boombox outside your window”, it’s easy to see why so many people have fallen head over heels with the Adelaide singer-songwriter’s nostalgic and honest pop anthems.
The atmosphere in the arena is euphoric, and all around me people are hugging, dancing, and singing as they wait together for LANY frontman Paul Klein to grace the stage. As Los Leo mentioned earlier, this will be one of the final shows for the band as they ride the home stretch of their 75 show worldwide tour. Consisting also of drummer Jake Goss and Les Priest on guitar and keys, LANY has been kicking goals since they first formed in 2014 and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. Boasting a respectable 5 million monthly listeners on Spotify, its safe to say the band is totally peaking, especially with the release of their second album Malibu Nights, written after Klein’s very public split with chart-topper Dua Lipa.
“I know the only way I’m going to feel OK about any of this is if I have something to show for it at the end”, he had told Wonderland Magazine in regards to the break-up. Boy were we about to find out.
The stage lights beam on and we are met with a gigantic LCD screen counting down from a minute in flickering film-style black and white. When the timer hits zero, the crowd erupts into a brightly lit sea of poised iPhone cameras and excited squeals. The stage has been set up in two tiers, and as the stream of light widens and grows stronger we begin to make out the source of the atmospheric music washing over the arena: three silhouetted figures and their like instruments gracing the highest platform.
“Late night / Your eyes fell to the floor / I’m trying to make sense / But you’re losing your patience”. To say that Klein is a high energy performer is a gross understatement. As soon as he runs on stage, he’s jumping, dancing, singing and taking full control over the space around him. Opening with the first track of the album (and certified tune) ‘Thick And Thin’, the guys keep the pace going with the next couple of hits ‘4EVER!’ and ‘Good Girls’. Jumping down to sing to fans from the pit, Klein is showered in an array of brightly coloured plastic roses and balloons as they shoot up onto the stage.
They continue with some of their newer songs ‘Taking Me Back’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Love You Anymore’ to which the crowd echoes every word. “I fucking love when you sing with me!” He encourages, wrapping an Australian flag around his shoulders. The floor rumbles. “Don’t let me dance alone!”.
Dance alone LANY does not. If the recorded songs weren’t melodically infectious enough already, the pounding bass and dynamic soundscape of the live performance is something different entirely. Dishing up track after track with minimal rest time, the level of skill and stamina on stage is unwaveringly obvious.
“The tea is, I’m in the best band in the world!”, laughs Klein, launching himself down into the crowd for next song, ‘The Breakup’.
While these high-powered moments are amazing, it’s within the more emotionally charged and slower pockets of the set that I find myself with the real chance to catch a glimmer of who LANY really are. Stripped back and raw, it’s during songs like ‘Hericane’ and ‘Malibu Nights’ that the audience is able to feel truly connected to Klein, experiencing his pain and vulnerability both with him, and each other. There is a beautiful sense of community within the crowd, and it’s empowering and refreshing to be included.
With the last note of their final and most popular song of the night ‘ILYSB’, the boys link up and give a massive bow to their adoring audience, before assuring everyone that they’ll most certainly be coming back to Melbourne for the rest of their lives. Whilst sad that the night has come to an end, we grasp onto this statement as we file out of the arena and back into reality. LANY is everything you’d expect from them and more, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.