LANY mystifies crowd out of stupor at The Regency Ballroom

Abigail Balingit/Staff

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In the hour before LANY’s set at the Regency Ballroom, its opener Transviolet was nowhere to be found. The fans waiting in the pit grew antsy as a bland jazz medley played on an infinite loop. To the confusion of the crowd about this being the beginning of the actual set, the medley was soon replaced by the familiar sound of frontman Paul Jason Klein’s voice.

Lo and behold, Klein appeared sitting cross-legged right in the middle of the stage. After a few notes played out, a sudden hush fell over the crowd as two mellow songs — later revealed to be unreleased LANY demos — played on the speaker system. Klein bobbed his head to the recordings.

In effect, it felt like an exclusive listening party, though people were slightly bewildered that Klein wasn’t singing along as well. Though his appearance might have been an attempt to allay disgruntled fans, Klein exited the stage. The crowd was left hanging again.

After another 10 more minutes of waiting, the lights dimmed and Klein, with drummer Jake Goss and keyboardist Les Priest, finally emerged onto the stage.

As soon as the music started, all was forgiven. LANY officially opened the night with a rollicking rendition of “4EVER!” where Klein triumphantly bounced across the stage, much to the delight of the crowd. “LOVE SUCKS SOMETIMES” was also emblazoned on the keyboard equipment. Fans in the front row were throwing roses on the stage, akin to one of Snapchat’s new filters.

But above all else, the visuals, reminiscent of a ‘90s aesthetic, really stole the show. The three screens aired a video of Whitney Houston belting out the national anthem from the 1991 Olympics as the trio walked on. Images of Angelina Jolie graced the three screens during “yea, babe, no way,” and Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump came on as Klein sang about pleading a girl to quit running away.

An original song released during the kinda tour, “dumb stuff” had falling rain visuals to set a mood similar to the “Quit Playing Games with My Heart”  music video. Klein’s notes rang with the passion of a teen angst-driven love story.

“Take my hand, baby, dance in this pouring rain, ‘cause what we’ve got is like a movie, and I’m not above a good cliche,” Klein sang, as fans swayed to the music that resounded with the effervescence and ephemerality of young love (in itself, a self-aware cliche) in its lyrics.

LANY’s tender side was not only displayed in song but also in the band’s endearment toward its fans. Midway through the set, Klein apologized on behalf of its opener Transviolet’s disappearance, revealing the band was sick that night and couldn’t play its set. (Aha! Mystery solved!) He also shared a sentimental story about San Francisco. Gushing with gratitude, Klein relived the memory of when the band had signed to its record label, Polydor, in the green room of the Rickshaw Stop last year. The trip down memory lane ended with “we’re a little band from Los Angeles, California,” which was the perfect lead-in to “Made in Hollywood.”

Throughout the night, the band played the entirety of the kinda EP and a bevy of songs from its previous EPs. Klein exhibited prowess as keyboardist, guitarist and singer. And at some points, the love he expressed teetered on the edge of saccharine. During the band’s performance of “current location,” Klein sang the outro with a couple of minutes worth of runs. Still, it was a heartfelt performance.

LANY closed its set with the encore of its tour de force of love, “ILYSB.” Until the end of the night, yuppies with drinks in their hands and  motley crews of Tumblr girls alike were up on their feet and singing along with Klein. As cliche as it sounds, love makes the world go round and, in that soft finale, the night came full circle.

Contact Abigail Balingit at [email protected].