It's not every day that you're asked to review a gig for a band that you've never heard of with only an hours notice. Wednesday was one of those days.
We turned up to Auckland's Powerstation having absolutely no idea who LANY were, what kind of music they played, or even where they were from. The whole night was a surprise as on our way in, we had been lead to believe that the band was from Australia and that the singer was about 19 (actually 29). After a couple of google searches, we quickly realised that LANY, essentially an abbreviation for Los Angeles...New York, are an up-and-coming American three piece Alternative/Indie act rather than a teenage girl - and the surprises kept on coming.
After swanning into the show with only ten minutes to spare, we found ourselves surrounded by a very young, enthusiastic crowd and quickly made friends with a friendly couple next to the bar. We settled in, eager to see what they had in store. After a few minutes, the band strolled modestly onto the stage and with a rather cliché “WE LOVE NEW ZEALAND!” - that old chestnut - delivered from vocalist Paul Klein, and with that, they went straight into their first song.
As soon as they started playing, the room filled with this crazy dream-like vibe that I guess I could only explain as euphoric. It was the kind of music that if you closed your eyes, it made you feel as though you’re floating on a cloud.
Hearing them for the first time, I’m glad that I got to do so live. Although the majority of the lyrics were a little difficult to hear, the choruses to most of the songs were easy enough to pick up and sing along to. It was a little strange to see the crowd not getting into the music as much as we expected though, but maybe that's just because I'm used to going to rock gigs? There were a few dozen people dancing up the front and some grooving it out upstairs but for the most part, people were content with swaying to the music or holding their phones above their heads. Call us old fashioned, but we decided we’d have a much more fun time dancing around like idiots up on the balcony near half a dozen others who were doing the same.
The band themselves were fairly low key in terms of theatrics. In the same theme as their music, their actions on stage were chilled out and relaxed and amongst a few questionable early 2000’s dance moves, Paul made a huge effort to interact with those close enough up front that he could reach. At one point he even fell in amongst the crowd, much to the delight of the hardcore fans that had brought roses to throw at him during the song 'Flowers On The Floor'. We thought that was pretty cute.
All up, LANY is probably best described as that band that you didn’t know you were missing. LANY is now on both of our go-to “chill” playlists and we’ve been listening to them all morning. It’s rare that a song these days will make you feel truly emotional in a 'high on life' sort of way but when you find music that does, it’s a great feeling.
I think everyone can find enjoyment in LANY, whether it’s with their hairily chested shirtless drummer, 90’s boy band look-alike lead singer or their Joe Satriani-esque instrumentalist, their music could be appreciated by anyone with an open mind and a love for chilled out, emotion inducing songs. They are incredibly humble in their performance and have earned themselves two brand new fans. I had a great night, bonded with strangers and a pretty cool person. The two of us usually have slightly different tastes in music but this is something we enjoyed together and as I say I believe anyone could. Best spontaneous thing I have done in a long time.
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