October 28th, 2016 at the Royale Nightclub
By: Ashley Juliano
I don’t know what it is, but everyone loves LANY. Maybe it’s their enchanting use of colors and aesthetic, maybe it’s their straight-from-the-digital-age lyrics, or maybe it’s their pure musical talents; LANY seems to be everywhere. Last time I saw them, at the Sinclair last May, I immediately followed all their socials and waited patiently for this LA trio to return to Boston. On the Friday of Halloweekend, my patience was rewarded as I headed to The Royale to jam out to one of my favorite electro pop groups.
If you haven’t heard of opener Transviolet yet, I suggest you drop everything and look them up immediately. I had the pleasure of seeing this female fronted four-piece last fall in London when they opened for Børns and again at Firefly Music Festival, and I can honestly say not only is it a pleasure to see them live, but they get better every time. Opening with a personal favorite, “Bloodstream,” this band radiated a confidence I had never seen before.
Something reassuring about the band’s live performance is how they are very much a unit, rather than a platform for their singer. Each musician plays an important role in how the songs are executed live, whether it’s Judah McCarthy’s varied guitar lines, the pumping bass from Mike Panek or the great balance between sampled and original drums by Jon Garcia. Sarah McTaggart is a petite stark white-haired Tumblr-goals type of lead singer, but her stage presence is enormous, and her vocals are captivating. Moving about the stage like it was a football field and swaying her arms like she could feel the music in the air, her presence was truly infectious and cast a spell over the entire crowd as they watched in a trans-like state. The set continued with generational call to arms “New Bohemia”, flower-power west coast anthem “LA Love”, and powerful “Nightvision”; a good mix of songs off their debut self-titled EP and songs we hope will make the unfinished debut album. Producing sounds similar to Lorde, Halsey, and Lana del Rey, with a hint of something darker than all three, it is clear that this band is quickly becoming one to watch. Ending the set was their hit single “Girls Your Age”, with stirring synth-pop sounds about growing up too fast, the crowd was pumped and ready for the headliners as I made a beeline to the merch table to grab myself a “Get On Your Knees” cap and talk to Transviolet between sets.
After the glowing screens broadcasted Whitney Houston’s iconic 1991 Super Bowl National Anthem, LANY took the stage and kicked the night off with “4EVER!”, “yeah, babe, no way.”, as well as my personal favorites “WHERE THE HELL ARE MY FRIENDS” and “Bad, Bad, Bad”, tracks off their hit EPs Kinda and Make Out. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, their dreamy-pop synths and painfully relatable lyrics all contribute perfectly to the brand LANY is trying to maintain. Although born in a Nashville bedroom, Paul Klein (PJK), Les Priest and Jake Gross of LANY just about bleed west coast with their sunny vibes and a perfectly un-done look. Live, their gratitude towards and connection to the crowd is undeniable. Not so much as a force to be reckoned with on stage, like Sarah of Transviolet, PJK is so captivating in the way he exudes confidence and moves like a wave, interacting with his bandmates and the crowd. The 80’s-infused pop sound slowed down for a little as the beginning chords of “Somebody Else” filled the Royale, a song where PJK’s vocals are at an all-time high. Encoring with popular hits “Walk Away” and “ILYSB”, LANY left their Boston crowd buzzing and in high anticipation of their return.