Concert Review: Porches, a truly polarizing act


Porches

El Club, Detroit

February 20, 2018

Reviewed by: Music Director Nick Marinelli

“Why are you heckling, who are you?”

Porches is a polarizing act. Either you like Aaron Maine’s voice, complemented by the synths and jangly guitars, or you don’t. Maine may be shy, but there is no denying he has a presence. Or that it dominates throughout the performance. From his awkward, but well-meant blown kisses following the opening number, to his nervous, annoyed shaking off of a heckler, Maine’s attitude doesn’t dominate you. It dominates him. And through this, he lets us in.

After a few openers, Porches wandered out onto the stage to do mic checks, and after a shirt change for Maine, from blue to lime green (or was it the other way around… I couldn’t help but be amused), Maine and co return to the stage and launch into “Now the Water” off new album The House. Punctuated by it’s simple, plain drum beat, the track works as a subtle way to ease the crowd into Porches watery guitar effects-driven sound.

I couldn’t help but note to my friends that I saw some parallels between Aaron and Morrissey. I’m fairly certain I’m not the first to make that observation, and although there is noticeable restraint from Maine. There is still a lot of energy in the performance.

The camaraderie of the band members is endearing. Comically, the guitarist whimsically hugs his guitar and twirls when he is not playing. Also, while preparing for songs the band grins and laughs at each other. Witnessing this, I imagine can be inspiring for those who may be hesitant to join or start their own band.

“Be Apart” is the most intense offering of the evening. The song reflects one of the moods that Maine plumbed to articulate on Pool. The feeling of anxiousness and not wanting to be around anyone is brought out in full force in this song. And although the song brings forth empathy from the listener, there is a not so subtle anger coming from Maine when he sings, “I just want to be apart.” These dueling emotions create a rush of feeling. Feeling that allows one to place themselves in Maine’s shoes.

Actually, forget about Maine, you don’t need to think about the artist when listening to this song. Go for a walk, listen to this, and live through it. That is my only advice.

After the first several songs, many featuring from the previous record, Pool. Maine ditches his guitar for the first time in the set for “Anymore.” Maine thoroughly proves he doesn’t need the autotune used in the recorded track, by delivering an affecting vocal, perfectly suited for the dance number.

Porches music has an introspective, yet rather danceable effect on the audience. And while yours truly longed for the band to play the bombastic opener off The House (“Leave the House”) in its album form. I very much appreciated the stripped down, percussion-less version that we were given.

Coupled with the bass guitarist’s backing croons, the soulful rendition of “Leave the House” leaves a distinct effect on the audience.

“Car” bowls over the crowd with its propulsive beat and bass line.

I step out for a drink briefly during the song, indirectly allowing me to observe the mania the audience descends into during the climax.

After an encore that offers us a throwback to the first album with, “Headsgiving.” The band leaves with an outpouring of love from the crowd. This leaves me to ponder, “How could you heckle this? Who are you?”