’Porches – Be Apart’

In the relatively short expanse of two years or so, Aaron Maine’s Porches project has undergone quite a rapid transition in nearly every facet of singing, songwriting and production development (such a rapid acceleration of prowess in fact, that Maine also recently released the first wave of Pool demos, as a completely separate LP entitled Water, just a few months back). Just one listen from both 2014’s Slow Dance in the Cosmos to this year’s excellently crafted Pool, and it’s clear that the New York based Maine & co. have caught lightning in a bottle with their current iteration. In the process of constant evolution, Porches have become a magnetic live presence as well, gaining the notice of discerning listeners, critics, and labels alike, and this past Monday we were able to witness them in live glory at one of our favorite intimate indie venues in Denver, the Larimer Lounge.

Opening the night’s tasteful wave of festivities were fellow indie darlings Japanese Breakfast. Michelle Zauner, the mastermind behind Japanese Breakfast (and also guitarist and singer for the underrated Philadelphia indie rock band Little Big League) relocated to Eugene, OR after her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and it was while she was there that some of her previous lo-fi releases were revamped under the Japanese Breakfast moniker (PSA, she’s Korean). Japanese Breakfast, who are coming off of their debut LP Psychopomp on the boutique Yellow K Records, strode out as a four-piece, and set the scene brilliantly. Rolling through lovely live renditions of Psychopomp fare including two of this writer’s favorite singles of 2016 “Rugged Country”, and “Everybody Wants to Love You”, the group set a serene listening space for much of the audience in attendance. However, it was Japanese Breakfast’s perfect choice of covering The Cranberries’ “Dreams” which gleefully brought the house down. There was something quite special of seeing a room full of hipster-types belting out their best 90’s era Dolores O’Riordan impressions on a Monday night, and their closing rendition no doubt prepped the intimate crowd for Porches’ moody pop structuring.

’Japanese Breakfast – Everybody Wants To Love You’

After a brief soundcheck filled with what has become a typical sense of deadpan humor (follow their Instagram please), synthy arcs, and of course a handful of Aaron Maine one-liners, the five-piece was prepared to provide us sixty minutes of aural bliss. Perhaps one of the best features of the Larimer Lounge is that the stage lies a mere foot off the ground sans barriers, which always provides an ultra-personal & highly unparalleled access to some of our favorite artists in the entire landscape of music. So, as we stood a mere matter of inches from one of 2016’s most exciting musical prospects, Porches rolled out to the skating drum-kick of “Glow” and fell beautifully in sync within a matter of bars. Clearly the last year of a hefty touring schedule has resulted in an even firmer grasp of crowd interaction, song placement & set curation, and just a greater sense of comfort and ease while working the crowd over.

Throughout their captivating performance we were treated to excellent live takes on some of our favorite Porches singles including “Car”, “Hour”, and even”Be Apart” which we’ve noticed a pension for Maine to stay away from in a live context. But, one of this writer’s true highlights came as the crafty troupe began digging deeper into their back catalog, pulling out more polished versions of “Prism” & “Forgive” from the A/B side Ronald Paris House, and even a cowboy hat fueled singalong to Slow Dance in the Cosmos’ “Headsgiving”. Such a careful balance of humor, tasteful sounds, simple visual aesthetic, and intoxicating stage presence should be revered in today’s overly manufactured, personality-less, and rapidly shifting musical climate. Porches delivers both a sound and live performance package to be admired, and it seems they’ve only started to scratch the tip of the iceberg of a seemingly endless well of potential.

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