LANY: A Review at O2 Forum Kentish Town

Only four days after the highly anticipated release of their sophomore album, Malibu Nights, Los Angeles indie pop band LANY poured their heart out at the O2 Forum Kentish Town. After waiting over a year for the band to return to London, 2300 passionate fans crowded the intimate, sold-out venue to watch members Paul Jason Klein, Jake Goss and Les Priest kick off their 2018 European tour.

With Jake and Les on drums and guitar respectively, perched above lead vocalist Paul in front of a static screen, the show was instantly set up as a moody, artistic dream.

The band opened with new song ‘Thick and Thin’, as dedicated fans pressed against the barricade to throw roses at the frontman, an endearing tradition started during the tour for their debut album LANY that featured a rose on its cover. Continuing with a mix of tracks about love and loss from their new album, debut album and all four of their EPs, the band was met with screaming fans at the start of each new hit. Perfectly completing the emotionally charged atmosphere, the bright backdrop changed to match each song that Paul crooned, from a moving image of a woman’s hand holding jewelry for ‘Valentine’s Day’ to a starry night sky for ‘Malibu Nights’.

Clearly emotional about his first time performing the personal new songs, Paul’s voice cracked as he attempted not to cry during a heartbreaking rendition of title track ‘Malibu Nights’. After twenty electric performances, the frontman, clad in a neon green shirt and freshly dyed blonde hair, closed the show by announcing he had goosebumps hearing fans scream the lyrics to their 2015 RIAA certified gold single ‘ILYSB’. In perfect harmony with the band’s concept that Malibu Nights is the beginning of their moon era, the gig’s completion was marked by the storytelling backdrop lit up with the image of the children’s book Goodnight Moon. Blowing goodbye kisses to fans, the band yelled “See you next year, London” before making their way off the stage. As clearly impacted supporters exited the venue, emotions ranged from excitement following the spectacular show, to tears over how difficult it was to see their favourite singer so heartbroken.

Although their debut album was released only a year ago, LANY decided to forego a break and return to the studio in January following the highly publicized breakup of frontman Paul and British singer Dua Lipa. After spending a month in the studio both creating the album and processing the difficult split, the vulnerable Malibu Nights was born. The nine-track album, released on October 5, highlights all five stages of grief, including denial in ‘Thick and Thin’, anger in ‘Run’, bargaining in ‘Taking Me Back’, depression in ‘Malibu Nights’ and acceptance in ‘I Don’t Wanna Love You Anymore’. With raw lyrics such as “ I’ve got way too much time to be this hurt / Somebody help, it’s getting worse / What do you do with a broken heart? / Once the light fades, everything is dark”, Paul holds nothing back, allowing every fan that has gone through a difficult breakup to resonate highly with each song. The powerful emotions Paul felt during the creation of this album were clearly on display at the band’s incredible first show, amplified by the fact he was performing in the hometown of the woman who inspired the songs. Although singing about heartbreak every night on their seven-show European tour will no doubt be difficult for the lead singer, a happy ending awaits him back home in Los Angeles, as he recently announced through Instagram that he is dating someone new. Now all London fans have left to do is await LANY’s next album, that no doubt will once again effortlessly put into words the strong emotions felt while experiencing the trials and tribulations of love and heartbreak.

 

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