I first saw Porches at a Pitchfork after-show in 2016 at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. I had never heard of them, but my friend had an extra ticket, so I decided to go. In a darkly-lit dive-bar filled with Dickies, jean jackets, and dirty-baseball-cap-cladden patrons, I stood stage left for a band soon to be one of my favorites to see live. Their sound is melancholy synth pop backed by house style drums, and fronted by a strong, high falsetto and sometimes auto-tuned voice from lead Aaron Maine. Though I had never seen Porches before, their sound no doubt gave me a nostalgic vibe for a time or musical space I still can’t quite place my finger on.
Upon my two year hiatus of seeing them live, their sound this time brought me nostalgia for my first time seeing them. They played a sold out show at Larimer Lounge on February 26th and featured tracks not only from their new album, “The House,” which came out this year, but also from previous records––“Pool” and “Slow Dance in the Cosmos”. Between 2016 and 2018, the ambiance of their shows has stayed roughly consistent. Larimer Lounge is a small bar with a stage in the back that was lit like a middle school dance. The soft greens and pinks matched well with the many high-school and college-aged attendees that wore their share of early 2000’s clothing.
Listening to their recorded music, for the most part, gives me the night time bedroom bump headspace. This translates to a live performance that is very calmly presented, but emotional. There isn’t a whole lot of dancing or motion from anyone on stage, but the unifying soft vocals and strong chord progressions are where the emotion really comes from. Most of the crowd seemed to love every bit of the show, as call out requests were semi-frequent and sing-a-longs were plenty, especially to the chorus’ of tracks like “Car” and “Be Apart”. Most songs were accompanied by head bobs and mellow sways from the crowd, but more house-inspired tracks like “Pool” got most people, especially myself, dancing with a large grin on their face.
A personal favorite moment of mine was during the encore. At the beginning of the show, Aaron mentioned that two people had flown into Denver to see this show, and someone had gifted a pair of cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat to match, to the band. During the encore, the rhythm guitarist came out donning the white hat, which looked extra goofy on him as it was clearly too small for his head. The hat made its way around to most of the members, fitting some better than others, all giving the crowd a memorable ending to the show.
Though Porches’ overall aesthetic and fanbase are rooted in the sad, lo-fi realm, their emotion, cohesion, and crowd interactions make for consistently pleasing shows that give plenty of good energy.