fans

LANY fans : Minneapolis by Liz Brown

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Minneapolis LANY shows hold a special place in my heart. It was in Minneapolis (this same venue actually) that I saw first LANY, opening for Oh Wonder in June 2016. That was also the same day I went on my very first adventure with Blake. My only camera was a disposable; I didn't even know that was a LANY "thing," but it was a happy accident. Jump forward to October 2017, and they're headlining a sold-out show. I'm with the same boy, but I've got a much larger camera and I'm actually working (how crazy is that?) and the boy and I are holding hands now.

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Minneapolis was also the first city I'd done LANY fan photos in, and I've grown to recognize some of the fans and they know me by name. (And I try hard to remember your names--there's a lot more of you than me!) The LANY fandom is like a little family and I love that so much. It's like having a bunch of little sibs at every show.

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Some of them had different hair colours this year and it was definitely colder than last fall's show, but their eyes were bright and their hands clutched roses. In front of First Avenue, they'd drawn with chalk the LANY rose and sweet notes to the band. They huddled under blankets and denim jackets, excitement building as the door time drew near.

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I said it last fall and I'll say it again: you humans are magic. You hold within you the power to change culture and change the world. You've done something rare: to have a fandom of a boy band that isn't catty or competitive, that cares about each other and that welcomes new humans in. That is, in small part, because of the band's attitude, but mostly, fam, that's because of YOU. That's what makes LANY special. It's how you look out for each other and befriend each other. It's how you welcomed me into the crowd when I had to shoot from there. You could've easily been irritated at the girl with the big camera, but you were kind. Thank you. It's how I can fly to New York to meet a girl from Germany and how we are friends because of a band. LANY fam is a fam.

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Keep being kind. Keep bringing roses and giving each other hugs. Be generous with your kind words. It's okay to cry, but remember to laugh, too, and don't be afraid to lose your mind about the things that you love (right now for me, it's potatoes). Stay up for sunsets and wake up early for sunrises. I promise you it's worth it every time. You're getting older since I first met you, but don't let the world tell you, don't let hard times tell you, that there isn't wonder still left to find. Bad days and bad boys and bad girls will break your hearts but I promise you there are good boys and good girls and good days out there. They are coming. Each year will get a little harder, but I promise you: it will get better, too. Hold on. Hang on. Keep on. Your time is now and it may not feel like it today but the world is yours. Your time is still coming, too. You've made the band who opened up 507 days before a sold-out headliner. You have a voice and you have power and you have wonder and excitement and a lot of beautiful things. Hold them close and hold everything else with open hands. You can change the world. I believe in you. ILYSB.

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the "Paul Klein pose"

the "Paul Klein pose"

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LANY fans : Chicago by Liz Brown

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This LANY show was perhaps one of the more sentimental for me. Seven and a half years ago, almost to the day, I shot my very first show at this venue. I was wide-eyed and unsure and alone. Now I'm still wide-eyed (never lost your sense of wonder, fam) but a little more sure and less alone--Blake traveled with me and the LANY fam have become my friends. It's beautiful to walk by a line of people and hear your name. A band whose name I didn't know two years ago has been the conduit through which these now-friends know my name. 

Because I'm sentimental and full of words, here are a few for you, LANY fam. Life is hard--don't stop being curious or amazed or grateful. Work hard and be thankful. Learn to roll with change--if you can do this, you're golden. Keep your hands and your expectations open and your hopes and your head high. Competition is overrated; be kind and cultivate community. You need people. I need people. We need each other. Keep dancing. Always dance. Dance at shows. Dance in parking lots. Dance on rainy days and jump in puddles. Joy is important and the best way to find it is by being thankful. If you're an artist, keep practicing. It takes time. Good things take time. Give yourself grace and don't give up on yourself or your art or other people easily. This LANY fandom--this kindness and friendship among strangers--is a rarity. Value it, keep it, don't change. ILYSB.

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Lany Fans in Indy by Liz Brown

This is my third Lany fan blog post (check out Minneapolis and Columbia) and I decided to try something different. Typically I just blog the line before the show and that's the extent of my fan photos, and typically most of my photos during the band's set are of the band.

This time, however, when the band came out, I immediately turned around, faced the crowd. The light backlit Lany, but it hit the crowd right in their faces.. And it was beautiful. The best part of the show was that: looking back, seeing the night from the band's point of view. I couldn't stop grinning.

So for Indianapolis, I'm including photos from, yes, the line before the show, but also during the show and after the show. This is the story of the humans in the crowd. The Lany fam. The ones who, before the show, were waiting outside at least 7 hours before to get an envied spots on the barricade. The ones who waited for hours after the show to get a photo with or a hug from the Boys. I want to hug you all. Your enthusiasm inspired me and I'm smiling as I edit and post these photos. I'm grateful for you.

Keep living with that radical reckless enthusiasm and love the things you love that hard. Let your love keep you up late at night and may it keep you grinning.

Yesterday as I was leaving the grocery store, I walked by bouquets of flowers and thought: I don't especially love flowers but I love that it's something we do--expend income and effort on something so temporary. I love that we keep and we give something so temporary because this is all temporary but that shouldn't stop us from buying flowers. That shouldn't stop us from throwing roses. That shouldn't stop us from savoring beautiful moments, even if they're short. Whether high school or a concert or a first kiss. Just because it's over doesn't mean it wasn't beautiful. Chase that beauty. It might not always look like a rose, but even dandelions are beautiful if you choose to see beauty in them. Choose to see beauty all over, dear humans. On Saturday night I saw it in your faces. ILYSB. These photos are chronological and they tell your story. The story of Saturday night and the smiling and the dancing and the roses on the floor. I hope when you remember that night, you remember it like this.

Much of life is choosing what is worth inconveniencing yourself for. The things you drive a distance for. The people you stay up late for. Those are the things and the people you love. These humans love Lany.

Lany Fans in Columbia by Liz Brown

Oh, Lany fans, you're gems. What can I say that I haven't said before?

But maybe it's not about saying anything new. Maybe it's just saying something true. Something honest. Something I mean.

Because Lany is like that. Love isn't new, just these songs are. Pink skies have been ending days for decades--centuries--but only now do we have that melody. And summer isn't new, just this one is.

And life isn't new, but I feel like who I'm becoming is.

Maybe it's the same with you. With these songs. With these days. With these young summer years.

More even than I love the music of Lany, I love the feeling of Lany. It's like this: 

Keep dancing, young friends. Don't ever stop being enthusiastic about the things you like. Don't let anyone tell you growing up is boring. Yes, growing up means insurance and bills and a lot of that is scary right now (to me, too), but it's also staying up all night with your friends and ice cream for breakfast and 30 glow sticks in your car and dancing in the streets in new cities to new songs and it's a lot of fresh air in your lungs and it's learning what joy is and it's feeling it, too. Sometimes the scariest things are also the best things; don't live a safe life because just like these songs and these days, life is short. Take risks. Don't be afraid of failure. Sing loud and often. Maybe these things are cliche and maybe I've said them before, but I'm not above a good cliche.

I think maybe that's the point though, isn't it? We're all just feeling the same things in different cities waiting for someone to give words to these emotions--or give us a chance to dance. Because don't we all need some roses in our hands, in the air, on the floor?

This spring I read the book Wonder and the main character Auggie says that he thinks everyone should have a standing ovation at least once in his or her life. I hope you get your standing ovation. I hope you all get an encore. You are brave and beautiful. Keep dancing.

Love is awesome. These days are awesome. Savor them. ILYSB.

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Earlier in the day, Steve (my friend/Lany's merch fella) tweeted that he wanted a basketball to, well, play basketball (he probably said it better than that, but that's the gist of it), so these cute humans brought him one.

Current Location: Minneapolis by Liz Brown

Here we go. This is a long post and I don't know quite where to begin. A month ago, I sort of accidentally shot a LANY show and LANY's fans found the blog post and shared it dozens of times until it reached frontman Paul and cleared 1000 views. In one month. To give you perspective, most of my blog posts have about 37 views. On a good day, maybe 100 or 200. Nowhere near 1000.

I knew LANY had lots of fans, but I didn't realize how dedicated they were until that moment. When I'd refresh my analytics page every day to see another dozen or two views, I realized I'd stumbled upon something bigger. And these humans have been so kind in sharing my work. Even in the past few days, when my photos have been shared, they've been credited. And they've said such kind words. I was won over.

So I decided to do something at the Minneapolis show: fan photos. I've done a couple fan photos before, but nothing to this extent. But, then again, nothing to this extent had ever happened to any of my blog posts before. 

And last Saturday was the perfect time: my current location was also theirs. Minneapolis felt like both summer and fall in the best ways and even by mid-afternoon there was a block-long line of mostly girls and some boys, all clad in white sneakers and denim and handmade shirts, proclaiming love for the band. Hands clutched roses and eyes sparkled nervously in anticipation. There was a tent and a card game and pizza and more faces than I can count.

After meeting so many of these adorable little humans, I feel quite endeared to them. I want to adopt you all and take you to my favourite donut shops and thank you for being so kind. Which I realize sounds weird so I won't do that, but know I think you're darling and I'm so entirely grateful for you. Though I look young, I'm nearly twice as old as some of you, rather closer to the age of the LANY boys. And I feel like you're like my little musical sisters (and brothers) and the cutest humans.

So this is for you. Because it's easy to forget. And if someone hasn't told you recently, I want to tell you:

You're beautiful and valuable and I believe in you. Don't stop being passionate about things. Create. Take risks and don't be afraid to ask for help. Live honestly and don't be embarrassed of what you like (I can sing every Taylor Swift album front-to-back--no shame). Keep looking at the world with wonder and don't let anyone convince you to be cynical. Live unashamedly enthusiastically. Stop for sunsets and cute animals. Chase light. Put sprinkles on all of your food. Skip and dance instead of walking just because. Write poetry about good days and bad days and normal days. It's okay to have normal days. Not every day has to be spectacular to be important. Don't let anyone tell you your life isn't worthwhile or important. Or that you have to be famous to be valuable. It's not true. You're infinitely valuable. Being cool is overrated. I've never been cool (I used to own off-brand pink Crocs); it's okay. Life is more than followers or likes--the social media kind  or the kind from a boy or girl. Sing obnoxiously loud to the radio because you have lungs and you like the melody. Drink lots of water. Dream really really really big because I believe that dreams are immensely important and you can create something spectacular. Don't let your dreams daunt you. Learn to ask good questions and listen well--this is a game changer and something I'm still learning. It's okay to rest sometimes. Be kind even when it's hard. You'll have good days and you'll have bad days; just take it one day at a time and don't be afraid to ask for help on the bad days. Run up hills and roll down them and jump into leaves and into puddles (I still do this) because life is short and you'll grow older but you don't have to grow up, I promise. Yes, adulting is hard (I'm not good at it), but it doesn't have to make you boring and it doesn't have to steal your joy. Hope is powerful and love is powerful and you're not alone. We're in this together, okay?

That was long, but I'm full of words and I like you lots and want you to know those things. That all being said, here are the photos of your lovely faces.

Instead of curating the photos into groups like I did with the concert images, these are exactly in the order I took them (with the one exception of the very first image). I started at the beginning of the line, by the gals who won meet-and-greets, and by the folks who'd be waiting since the day before, and took photos all the way to the corner of the block. These are the faces.

I don't have a brilliant conclusion or one photo that sums up the entire afternoon, but I just have a few words. LANY fans, you're beautiful. Thank you for your kindness and for welcoming me on the internet and in real life. I like you lots.