Aaron Maine, frontman for New York-based Porches, opened his Brooklyn show on Friday night with “Mood,” and according to his dance moves, he was definitely feeling one. While Maine told the crowd he was just “a dork,” the 20 something appeared to be a little drunk. But he certainly embodies the rockstar ethos, which was evident during his set at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
A passion project of Maine’s, Porches got its start in 2010. The band released “The House” earlier this year and has been touring the country in support ever since. Seeing the band live — comprised of Maine (guitar, vocals), Maya Laner (bass), Seiya Jewell (keyboard), Dan English (guitar), Noah Hecht (drums) — evokes a familiar feeling of being with the coolest kids at a party, and with its `90s garb and synth-soaked sound, Porches oozes Manhattan irreverence.
This irreverence is how I was first introduced to the indie band in 2016, when I was fascinated by their sophomore album “Pool.” I found the release’s themes of smalltown angst captivating as a fellow transplant from suburban USA. Maine’s jump from upstate New York to downtown Manhattan infused his work with a pent-up kinetic energy, which for him, created poignant dance ballads, or for others, made them run to New York as fast as possible.
WSN spoke with Maine before a string of shows at South by Southwest earlier this month, where the rockstar was preparing with a coffee and cigarette. Maine and I tried to unpack themes on “The House,” but wound up reminiscing on home, growing up and living in New York.
“I’m definitely still unpacking what it all means,” Maine told WSN. “‘The House’ is just about a year and a half of my life … It was the end of this five-year relationship, and I was away from home and missing my friends and family … I think you can pick up on some of these issues and hopefully it resonates with someone.”
Isolation is a theme that has followed Maine’s career, from his sad-boy soliloquies on 2013’s “Slow Dance in the Cosmos” to today’s “Leave The House” and “Now The Water.” In the former, Maine sings, “I just want to leave the house, find something to talk about.” Written in a city as lively as New York City, it’s surprising but also relatable to sometimes find yourself in isolation like Maine.
“It is definitely an overwhelming place to be,” Maine said. “But I like the option of having 24 hours a day to step out and see music or some art.”
This past weekend, Porches returned to the sleep-deprived metropolis to finish the North American leg of “The House” tour, with shows at Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom and Elsewhere before running off to Europe next month.
Whether it be the venue’s capacity or not, the band’s sold-out Brooklyn show was of a certain significance. Be warned, the band doesn’t sound like its recordings live, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The synth from Laner and Jewell was overwhelming but guided the show, while Maine gave a flawed but entrancing rendition of his usual synth-coated vocals.
Regardless of location, seeing Porches live is a singular experience in and of itself. From Austin to Brooklyn, Maine treats every show the same, with setlists and superstitions.
“I get nervous sometimes,” he said. “But I try and stretch and dance around the greenroom, have some tequila, do some jumping jacks and just get ready to communicate with a crowd.”
I guess the rockstar was less drunk and more just being himself as “Mood” opened the Brooklyn set. Who can really judge him for that?
Check out more from Aaron Maine and Porches here.
A version of this article appeared in the March 26 print edition. Email Ryan Mikel at [email protected]