How does one rave to LANY?” I ask a friend. She’d been to the first of the band’s two Arena shows in Manila, so I figured she could give me tips for the second night. All I get is a laugh, before she tells me it’s not that type of concert. She then draws a squiggle (~) in the air to explain. It’s hard to find a better description for the Los Angeles band’s sound. Members Paul Klein, Les Priest and Jake Goss have the dreamy production down pat, with Paul often crooning over synth-backed guitars, drums and keyboards. Longing — the usual theme of their songs — be- comes palpable. They’ve consistently brought that energy to Manila a total of three times in the past year: Wanderland Music & Arts Festival in 2017, a series of performances in select Ayala Malls and two sold-out arena shows, which were held in Araneta Coliseum two weeks ago.
I could mention how, in four years, LANY went from uploading their music to SoundCloud to releasing four EPs and a self-titled album. Or how a song so simple and honest as ILSYB sent them onto the charts. But the trio playing their biggest shows for us still begs more at- tention. Filipinos clearly haven’t gotten tired of LANY. Why else would Karpos Multimedia bring them back, and add a second night at the arena after tickets sell out in less than 24 hours? Mostly by the force of hyped teenagers, I thought, going by the emoji-laden #LANYLivein- Manila tweets and alternative folks of the Wanderland breed for good measure.
I’m proven wrong to an extent. For day two, the crowd ends up being an unexpected mix. There are barkadas and BFF duos, obligatory couples and solitary hipster dudes. But a good chunk seems to be slightly past their college years. And like the youngsters, they’re decked out in flickering LANY LED crowns and band hoodies. I even spot a trio wearing custom “Ain’t never felt this way” tees because they love LANY so bad, yeah.
As early as two hours before the show, the VIP pit’s half-filled with a herd claiming prime territory near the front stage and a few sitting down at the fringes to rest. What’s interesting, however, is the vibe of quiet rather than bursting anticipation. It’s how I get some apologetic rejections when I approach older fans about their support for the band, or a back-and-forth between friends who each volunteer the other to explain. For the most part, LANY’s effect seems beyond words. But those who eventually talk express how the music makes them feel. It’s a spectrum — either “very sad or very happy,” “feel-good” or “galing sa pinaghuhugutan.” The band writes lyrics “coming from their hearts” yet seems to target yours in the process.
When LANY finally takes the stage, Manila roars to music that enables it to feel what it wants to feel, complications aside. Paul opens with Dumb Stuff, singing the line “Oh my God, I think I’m in love,” and you can pick up on everyone thinking, yeah, same. And it turns out my friend was right — sayonara, fist pumping; hello, impassioned swaying to the bounciest bop that is Good Girls. The shy groups who politely declined to chat are the ones making mad dashes when LANY switches stages. I almost trip on fallen popcorn in jostling my way to the back. Worth it though because the platform is small enough for Paul to murmur 13 while gazing straight into fans’ eyes. But his presence claims the big stage too, as he jumps on the piano to sing last notes or lies on the ground in a show of intense hurt.
You’d think that crowd pleasers Super Far and ILYSB would be the night’s emotional highlights yet two other moments stand out. Araneta lights up in neon candy during Pink Skies, and it’s the perfect backdrop to the heart’s musings. Am I anyone’s “favorite everything,” as LANY puts it? Or is love even worth it because Hericane paints it as equally destructive. Paul plays the piano and stops as he tears up.
LANY runs on this level of emotion through their 90-minute set, stopping only to call us their “best fans ever” and other praise along those lines. Bless them; they’re at a point in their career where every night is the best night (just check the band’s overwhelmed tweets to know). Yet I have no doubt that Filipinos will top this act when LANY returns. Call it our inborn hospitality to three guys’ sincerity, but it’s also how their music cries and loves like our hearts do.
And yeah, we can totally stan that.