Lauv faced the distinct challenge of taking care of his mental health while also finding success with A-list collaborations and smash singles over the last year. Now, though, he is ready to revel in the success and share his hardships. Kicking off his largest U.S. headline show to date, he wore his heart on his sleeve at the first show of the “~how i’m feeling~ Tour” on Oct. 5 at The Anthem. As he gushed about the significance the night held for him, the crowd beamed, exhilarated to bear witness to it all in an engaging and promising show.
When “Welcome to the Land of Friends” flashed across the large screen, Lauv, clad in a colorful hoodie and matching bottoms, emerged for the upbeat “Drugs & The Internet.” His ending falsetto elicited big cheers, and he went on to play numerous songs from his first project, “i met you when I was 18. (the playlist),” off of the momentum. Gearing up for the release of his debut studio album “~how i’m feeling~,” Lauv has released a series of singles that have gained serious traction and launched him to stardom.
After the jazzy “Paris in the Rain,” he pulled out his guitar for the rock-influenced “Paranoid,” confirming his musical versatility. The glitchy graphics synched to the beat, matching each song’s mood perfectly, especially for “Sims.”
After performing the new single, he thanked the audience again and professed: “I literally never expected to play a venue like this. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever in my wildest dreams.”
An unforgettable highlight of the night was his smooth song “Easy Love” for its extended run time and the different movements of the song compared to the studio version. Lauv displayed an energy his fans could not help but soak in. He played an extended guitar solo, remixed the signature electronic part of the song on the drum pad and initiated a call and response with the crowd. Lauv faced a small technical difficulty: The pad stopped working near the end, which made for an anticlimactic finish to a really great performance of the single. Lauv, though annoyed, joked that at least the crowd knew he was not faking his performance.
He continued on with one of his most iconic tracks “i’m so tired…,” which he recorded with Troye Sivan. Lauv also took the opportunity to capture the crazy liveliness of the crowd during one of the crowd’s most energetic moments by taking a photo to capture the memory.
Lauv then left the stage and took the opportunity to discuss his recent mental health struggles with a voiceover piece with corresponding words flashing on the screen. He confessed: “In January 2019, after spending much of 2018 slowly spiraling downward, I found myself at a low I never thought possible.” He then reappeared for “Sad Forever,” and people turned on their phone lights — a meaningful moment that the entire audience got to share in.
Lauv also played an unreleased track which only featured one mic and an acoustic guitar. It was hard to hear because of his distance from the singular mic, but it forced the audience to remain extremely quiet to hear him, and people quietly sang along at the end. The set up and planning could have been executed better, but this production made for a vulnerable and completely raw sound, which is rare for bigger concert venues.
The concert came to an end, and when it did, the crowd roared for the encore. Lauv answered the crowd’s cheers and came out again to play “Never Not” with distinctive a capella singing. He ended the night with his smash “I Like Me Better,” which left everyone on an uplifting note despite the concert’s heavy material.
Lauv showcased his musicality, playfulness and vulnerability over his near hour-and-a-half set. He expertly worked the stage, even as he stood upon it for the first time. The support from the audience offered a poignant contrast to the struggles Lauv discussed about his mental health and other darker themes off of his album. The night did not end up feeling lonely or sad at all, but rather a colorful celebration and a triumph for Lauv.