Published Oct 27, 2018Maybe Porches' Aaron Maine was too tired to dance. Maybe his "half puff of pot" ("I don't do well with this stuff") was drifting him far and away from the Montreal bar. Whatever the reason, his Friday night set at Bar Le Ritz was void of anything rippling and alive. For lyrics flooded with references to water, Maine barely waded into the shallows.
He started the show facing away from the chatting clusters, and in some ways, never really turned all the way around. Between songs, he wobbled with his mic's distortions or monologued in wayward run-ons: "What is everyone doing tonight, how was the week, cold, it was nice today I heard." In other words, he kept a clammy distance.
When he did sing, between dark and nervous beats, he offered up half-hearted hand gestures: a middle finger swoop, two "rock-on's" too many, a peace sign propped over his eye. He sang the American national anthem to an alien melody before deciding he didn't "really have anything else to say" and delving into "Goodbye." It all felt forcefully ironic, like an uneasy inside joke with no one.
The set's best glisten was midway through, during "Leave the House," when the band members' harmonies — "Let it have you / How it wants" — braided in some pretty sincerity. And yet, amazingly, there was zero concern for preserving even a semblance of that bursting momentum. The song ended, Maine asked what time it was, and the entire band wandered offstage without explanation. They came back with a capo. Porches' set was a knot of inchoate thoughts that trailed off in a haze, a lolling head that kept losing track of time.