LOS ANGELES — “All right, you goofballs!” Aaron Maine yelled.
The deadpan humor and captivating timidness of the Porches’ frontman charmed its way into the hearts of many during the band’s sold-out show Friday at the Teragram Ballroom. Though he may not have the outlandish personality of most pop musicians, the meek Maine knew how to enthrall a crowd.
Touring in support of Porches’ latest album The House, Maine and co. strolled onto the stage donning Maine’s clothing line, Dark Muscle, and delivered a set that displayed improved band chemistry, stage presence and a much fuller sound compared to their previous Los Angeles appearance in 2016.
Porches have always deployed a heavy use of guitar live, but the guitar-driven nature of their sets has increased, which is surprising considering how synthesized their studio albums have become, especially on The House. With tracks like “Leave the House,” “Find Me,” “Anymore,” which all borderline “house” music, it was shocking how well these electronic-infused tracks operated with a full band.
Porches are a different band than they were two years ago. They’ve mastered every track off of 2016’s Pool, indicative of the stellar slew of cuts like “Car,” “Underwater” and “Be Apart.” When the New York quintet performed them, each recognizable beat and riff bounced off each other harder and more emphatically than ever before and threw the crowd into a nostalgic tailspin of sweet bedroom funk for an entire hour.
Seemingly starstruck by his crowd, Maine kept the packed ballroom enthusiastic with lots and lots of cowbell, charming mannerisms, jokes and gestures that bordelined absurdity between each song. It worked. While all of this was going on, a heavy melancholy pierced through the set. Whether it was through his coy demeanor or his sultry lyrics about disbelief and sorrow, Maine proved himself a master of stirring emotions.
While Porches capped off Friday with a sadness-sheathed, hip-shaking onslaught, the opener, Harmony Tividad ignited it with the sheer power of her voice and an acoustic guitar. If you have not heard the name, you may recognize her band Girlpool (no biggie).
Tividad went on to hush the audience with vocal gravity and weighty acoustic reiterations of tracks off Girlpool’s acclaimed 2017 album, Powerplant, such as “It Gets More Blue.” But it was her solo material that really had the crowd stopped in its tracks. Having released Oove is Rare less than a month ago, Tividad placated fans with cuts like “Josephs Dad” and “Knitted Scars of Cheeto Holiness.”
Following Tividad was London band Girl Ray, who gifted L.A. with their brand of lo-fi jangle pop (or, self-described estrogen pop). Having quickly devised a “bright” atmosphere and airy vibe, the English outfit opted to play tracks from 2017 album Earl Grey for the majority of their set.
Follow writer Kyle Kohner at Twitter.com/kylejkohner.