Published Apr 12, 2016There's nothing like an opening band named Your Friend to make you feel welcomed at a show. Kicking off the Porches and Alex G show Monday night (April 11) at the Horseshoe Tavern, frontwoman Taryn Miller delivered a solid and endearing performance, surely leaving with a few new fans of her own before clearing the stage for the highly anticipated Alex G.
While there's no doubt lo-fi, DIY guy is known for his makeshift home-studio recording style, Maryland's Alex G proved last night that his albums aren't the only place where he invites listeners for a peek into his weird and wonderful bedroom world. Eyes shut and bouncing endlessly from foot to foot, G gave the audience just enough attention to remind us that we were indeed at the Horseshoe Tavern and not, in fact, watching a young, yet-to-be-discovered musician jam out in his parents' basement.
"You guys ever seen A.I. by Stephen Spielberg?" Alex asked after a few songs, in an attempt to break the ice in the steamier-than-average Toronto venue. Giving no further elaboration on the reasoning behind this strange inquiry, the band launched into an extended, ramped-up rendition of Beach Music cut "Kicker," with guitarist Sam Acchione taking the track to a new level and treating those who made the trek to the Tavern that night to a tasty solo — an impressive run of unfettered fretting that he kept up for the bulk of the performance.
Filling the inter-song silences with everything from some cheeky advice regarding the U.S. election to some noticeably lighter material in the form of a short riff from Toy Story's "You've Got A Friend In Me," Alex G and friends had the crowd hooked all the way through. The foursome finished off the set with a true-to-the-record rendition of "Brite Boy," inviting Porches' vocalist/bassist Maya Laner to lend a hand before leaving the stage in a low-key chill way that only Alex G could pull off.
Porches were practically dripping with '80s dance revival aesthetic when they took the stage, with frontman Aaron Maine starting off the set with his back to the audience, decked in light blue mom jeans, a grey turtleneck and bleached blonde hair.
The New York outfit brought with them a dark and powerful energy that suffused popular numbers like the industrial dance number "Car," gloom-groover "Underwater" and the bass-heavy "Hour." With a subtle musical shout out to their tour mate in the form of a "Walk" instrumental, Maine asked the crowd what they thought of their opener, rousing a loud cheer and prompting one audience member, hardly able to express his glee, to impulsively blurt, "ALEX G FUCKING…IS AWESOME," much to the delight of his cohorts.
Maine's voice soared effortlessly between his upper and lower registers, proving his vocal chops to be equal to, if not surpassing, his recorded material. After an impressive albeit short set, the group returned to stage for a two-song encore, first getting the crowd moving once more with the synth-doused Pool title track before Maine was left alone on stage to expertly lower our heart rates with the ever-intimate "Xanny Bar."
Though the overall musical style differed substantially between the three Domino labelmates, they somehow all managed to fit together with their unconventional-yet-hooky sounds.