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LANY sticks the landing at the Riviera

| Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Charlie Kenney | The Observer

LANY performed at The Riviera Theatre in Chicago on Nov. 1. The concert proved worth the long wait in a line that snaked through the streets surrounding the theater. The three-man band surpassed expectations.

The Norwegian trio Anna of North opened for the headliner and performed their tracks “Feels,” “Money,” “Someone,” “Lovers” and “Fire,” sparking the energy of the audience while building up anticipation for LANY’s appearance.

The two-tiered stage of the concert hall served to enhance the visual aspects and the dynamic of the show. Anna of the North utilized just the main stage, while LANY used both the main platform and the elevated level behind it.

Amidst a chanting audience, LANY’s drummer Jake Goss and guitarist Leslie Priest walked out to their respective instruments, set up on the stage’s second tier. Lead singer Paul Klein capitalized on the heightening excitement when he walked onto the main stage to take his place in front of the microphone.

Following an increase in the crowd’s volume, they launched into the concert with “Thick and Thin” — the song that begins their recently released album “Malibu Nights.” Throughout the concert, LANY succeeded in highlighting their new songs amidst a strong cohort of their old ones, reminding us of their roots.

As the tragic “Thick and Thin” ended, it ebbed into the similarly somber “Good Girls.” After this song, the energy shifted to a happier note with “4EVR” — a classic pre-album LANY song. LANY continued to reminisce with the heartbreaking throwback “yeah, babe, no way,” which picked up the pace. Next came “I Don’t Wanna Love You Anymore” with a visual background of white sheets rippling across the tiered screens.

Since “Taking Me Back” is a newer song, its performance was supported by a blue background with lyrics laid out in yellow for the audience to sing along.

Next, “Made in Hollywood” arrived in full force with a bright sunset gradient that heightened the already euphoric vibe of the song. Imitating the previous song “4EVR,” “Made in Hollywood” brought back the ecstatic and youthful innocence that built LANY’s early repertoire. Klein also chose to stage dive towards the end of this song, adding a level of adrenaline to the performance.

The bright pinks and oranges from “Made in Hollywood” transitioned into a static grainy rainbow for “Hurts” — a true LANY anthem to which anyone in a real relationship can connect.

“Run” turned the tone serious once more with a crying eye set as its background. The eye produced an even more haunting live version of the song, with wet, spiked, mascara-clad lashes adorning it and tears streaming from it.

“13” produced a more calming energy, and blue screens supported the confused sadness projected by the song. And Klein’s climb to the upper stage to serenade the audience from a seated position perched on the stage’s edge only served to highlight the song.

“If You See Her” followed by “The Breakup” further escalated emotions as both songs contain some of the most real, raw and relatable material ever produced by LANY.

A video of cars driving down Highway 1 under a vibrant pink sunset on the Malibu coast in California accompanied the track “pink skies,” bringing back the dreamy hope that initially characterized LANY songs.

“Hericane” countered the bliss of ‘pink skies’ with bright red squares underlying a song about the complexity of the personality of a lover.

“Super Far” brought out a cathartic sadness with its cleverly-choreographed music video playing in the background.

“Malibu Nights” packed a powerful punch as the song before the encore. A single spotlight isolated Klein on the piano amidst a speckled starry night sky, creating the most intimate moment of the show.

Fortunately, LANY didn’t leave their audience on a sad note. Coming back onto the stage with “Thru These Tears,” LANY sped back up the tempo of the concert. The song became even more poignant when infused with images of falling rainwater and blinding flashes of lightning. LANY’s message rang loud and clear: There is hope for the future, no matter how dark and terrible the current storm.

“ILYSB” left a feeling of contentment as the closing song. It is heartwarming, hopeful and happy all at once, reminding the audience of the bubbliness felt at first listen.

LANY’s growth and development manifested itself through this powerful performance that demonstrated their talent at combining song lyrics with images and colors. Their clear and articulate songs communicate what many people feel in a way that allows their audience to bond over their musical art.

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