LOS ANGELES — During the last few months, LANY has transitioned from sun-soaked indie darling to emerging pop superstars. During that span, frontman Paul Jason Klein split up with his girlfriend, Dua Lipa. That inspired the majority of the songs on the band’s latest LP, Malibu Nights.
LANY took the stage at the Palladium Friday, at the first of two shows at the hometown venue, as both a celebration of success and a visceral display of heartbreak.
The band began with “Thick and Thin,” an early favorite from the new album. A meditation on the confusion that inevitably accompanies a breakup, the song was electric live. Klein danced his way through the track, embodying a swagger that only grew throughout the night. Next came “Good Girls,” a dance bop featuring a healthy dose of synth and some powerful vocals by Klein. Massive digital screens silhouetted Klein.
LANY peppered in throwback cuts as well, including two of its early hits, “4EVER!” and “Made in Hollywood.” These songs made Klein nostalgic.
“Los Angeles, this is our home. Before we were selling out the Palladium, the three of us lived half a mile down the road in a one-bedroom apartment,” he said.
Recent single, “If You See Her,” was a standout, demonstrating LANY’s knack for crafting catchy and relatable love songs, as well as highlighting the frontman’s magnetic stage presence. He was never still, providing energy by jumping off of speakers and surfing through the crowd. This was especially true on “Super Far,” off the band’s self-titled debut LP. An aggressive drum beat complemented spacey keys and created an intoxicating atmosphere for Klein to inhabit.
As the concert began to wind down, LANY slowed things down for “Malibu Nights” and “Thru These Tears,” the two most emotional cuts off of Malibu Nights. On the title track, Klein’s pain was palpable. Always one to wear his heart on his sleeve, the frontman delivered a passionate performance, belting out, “I drive, chasing Malibu nights/ Nothing seems to heal my mind/ I can’t forget.”
On “Thru These Tears,” LANY provided a vision of hope amid the heartbreak, declaring that things will be all right, despite the current feelings of hopelessness. This optimism carried through to the band’s closing track “ILYSB.” LANY’s first breakout hit and the catalyst for their rapid rise, the song was a fitting end to the night.
Norwegian vocalist Anna of the North opened the show, employing a unique vocal delivery that has helped her attain a large American fanbase and attention from artists like the Chainsmokers. She began with “Sway,” her debut single. Dark electronic production served as a backdrop for Anna Lotterud’s vocals, showing inspiration ranging from R&B to EDM.
After performing her hit single, “Lovers,” Anna of the North said that this marked her first performance in the United States. She showed remarkable poise, confidently strutting to the music from one end of the stage to another. Closing track “Fire” was raucous fun, demonstrating her potential as a dance-pop artist.
Follow writer Matthew Eaton at Twitter.com/MattnSoCal.