The last Sunday of the school holidays is usually a woeful day for many tweens and teens. However for some lucky young girls there were no early nights or packed bags but a night at the Astor Theatre full of squealing to their ultimate heartthrob, Paul Klein from American indie pop band LANY.
Following a very brief, super-slow-chilled-love-pop support from Adelaide’s Los Leo the theatre was adequately filled with a fresh hopeful spirit, unmistakably attributed to the rambunctious amount of squeaky girls and boys. Their quiet chatter and rushing up and down the aisles was quickly subdued when the lights dropped and visuals of VCR distortion came through and suddenly replaced with an ear bursting scream. To add further to the ‘millenials only’ banner, the crowd was alight with mobile phones filming the opening scene.
Jumping onto the stage in an I Love Perth t-shirt over a long sleeve was Klein and LANY, and they all screamed back his lyrics to Thick and Thin, word for word. “Said you’d be there for me through everything/ Said that you’d have my back with anything,” it was so much angst tightly wrapped up in pink bubblegum. Girls brought bouquets and single stemmed roses that he managed to catch and throw in dramatic movements of pop expression as you had to ask yourself, “Did he really get a full album out of his break up with Dua Lipa?”.
Baggy skater jeans and plain T’s were a pretty lazy attempt at pushing any sense of the word ‘fashion’ or creating any band ‘image’ but it matched the basic karaoke visuals to Taking Me Back. He was jumping around and the kids seemed to be loving it but musically there were no records being broken. It almost goes to show how much simplicity there is in the music taste of a teenager. Heartbreak lyrics over similar chord progressions will win you fans and sold out shows. So the band were doing pretty mediocre but they were all just doing it consistently well, so there’s points there. There was a moment in a song where the keyboardist dropped his arms, stepped so far back and scratched his head that you had to wonder if he’d forgotten he was on stage and playing his eighth Australian show. As he emerged from the rose coloured trance he leant on the edge of the casio and played a few more chords.
They played out song after song without any pit stops; no breathing breaks, no chatting breaks or costume breaks and it started to feel a little impersonal. I’ve seen this behaviour before and I feel like it’s particularly an American musician trait – you’re a performer and people are here to see your shows, razzle dazzle baby – when really, we want to see and hear our hero/ heroine in real life, know about their feelings and inspirations of their songs, add in a joke, have some character! So by the time Klein started to talk and introduce his band it was lame and I eventually wished he’d go back to not talking.
To a starry background came Hericane (the sappiest of love ballads), before Super Far brought the energy up a notch for what seemed to be the end before an encore of another piano solo in Malibu Nights and the well awaited ILYSB left all on a happy high note. I personally expect more from indie pop these days, but for every girl jumping on their bed to LANY tonight I think they gave you a good show.
Photos by Linda Dunjey