No one loves you like LANY loves you, New York City.
That was the sentiment that greeted fans before dream-pop trio LANY even stepped foot onstage for their headlining set at Webster Hall this past week, outlined in neon against their LED backdrop. And although it was not the first time the band had played the staple NYC venue—they had come along as openers on Troye Sivan’s headliner this past March—it was sweet to see the band finally reach this milestone and play in front of a crowd all their own.
They made sure to express gratitude for that more than once throughout the night, with frontman Paul Klein leaning into the microphone to thank everyone in the room for getting them to that point—and especially since so many of the band’s heroes had played there in the past, he’d added. That’s part of what added so much magic to this show (as well as what makes LANY a special band in general). The guys don’t hesitate to express their appreciation for the fans who have helped the band grow so quickly after being discovered via Soundcloud in 2014, which has since led them to performances at Bonnaroo, Reading Festival, and Firefly, as well as becoming the most-streamed artist of all time through Spotify’s Discover Weekly feature, all before even releasing an LP. I’ve been to dozens of shows at Webster Hall, but this was the first time I’ve actually felt the floor shaking as fans shimmied and jumped along when the show began. The energy in the room felt electric and nearly palpable, many with hands outstretched clutching bouquets of red roses that they would eventually toss to the stage. For a band that sings a lot about falling in and out of love, it’s clear that the appreciation between them and their fans is anything but unrequited.
As LANY got into the set, I was pleased and somewhat relieved to find that the band that had captured my attention online with their nostalgia-evoking synths, subtle ’80s R&B influences, and rich, smooth vocal melodies were able to successfully bring all of that and more into their live performance. Jake Goss’ drums for “Made In Hollywood” added a new depth and versatility to the track, while Klein’s solo keys performance for “Current Location” felt straight out of a movie, his intricate vocal arrangements managing to almost completely silence the audience until he’d finished. “Where The Hell Are My Friends” stood out as the obvious fan favorite, and understandably so—with lyrics about navigating life and loneliness in a big city while wondering if your friends would even care if you left, it’s the kind of feeling that’s easy to relate to and challenging to avoid in a place like New York.
But after all, that’s one of the best things about being at a LANY show—this is a band that has clearly figured out how to take the stumbling awkwardness of growing up and surviving heartbreak in the digital age, and turn it into something eloquent. Their attention to detail created an experience for fans that gave the show a feel of intimacy, despite the room being larger than the clubs they had performed in on the previous tour. All things considered, I think it’s safe to say that 2017 belongs to LANY, so make sure you catch one of the remaining dates on this run while you still can.