It’s been nearly two years since Porches has released the 2018 LP The House, and just when you think it’ll creep into that anniversary without a whisper, Aaron Maine redeems himself.
On his new single “rangerover,” Maine dons his usual croon with a clean bassline and guitarlick that floats around in nostalgia. Even the more fluttery moments when he coos “I wanna live” over and over, it remains grounded in the simplistic pangs of the strings.
Maine exemplifies the track all too well, saying, “Like any other type of diary, when you open up an old one you can feel all sorts of things: proud, ashamed, excited, mortified, humbled, out of your mind, smart, idiotic. I feel all of these things about Porches.”
For his stop at Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s Masonic Lodge, Maine took the stage alone, as he’s begun to experiment with for his recent shows.
“There is something about going up on stage alone with a laptop or a keyboard that feels more confronting and open to me than showing up with a 5-piece band.”
Leading up to his arrival onstage, the crowd meandered fluid and enthusiastic. Two girls, donning mullets, danced around in anticipation to the music playing over the speakers before, including Kelsey Lu’s cover of “I’m Not In Love” along with many songs from a previous collaborator of Porches, (Sandy) Alex G, who is following close behind with an upcoming stop in Los Angeles as well.
Maine walked out with a notebook not unlike my own wrinkled one, seemingly out of nowhere, the lights still up and Gesaffelstein playing in the background. Hands to his head, near embarrassed. Humbly in and out of awareness of the eager faces watching him. Hands lowered again, he begins his set with a stripped down version of “Find Me.” Illuminated in reds and purples, just Maine and his keyboard. Near the front of the stage was surprisingly still, full attention on his mannerisms above.
Leading into “By My Side,” Maine stood front and center at the mic, and it became clearer he would be the only one gracing the stage during the night. In a leather jacket and hair gently parted down the middle, he was a vision brimming with nostalgia.
The set weaved in and out of his bigger songs such as “Underwater” and “Braid” along with his sharing a couple of newer songs such as “rangerover” and one he dubbed “Black Mongoose.” Near the back of the venue, even the quietest discussions were heard in the solemn space, with neighbors shushing and heads turning from every corner. Maine didn’t seem to notice, thanking the crowd after each and every song, sometimes whispering to himself as he made the short journey from keyboard to guitar for songs like “Mood.”
He was quite aware of the Masonic Lodge, however, and shared his feelings, gasping, “This is a crazy place… a psycho room…” And in seeing the grounds of Hollywood Forever had some thoughts on his own mortality.
“The view is crazy up there… and I’m thinking like, I’m not ready to die, you know? Like… I don’t want to be there… I’m just up there, looking out at that cemetery.. And it’s October… It’s cool too. It’s spooky,” a giggly gesture for Halloween.
At one point Maine croons “It’s looking bad, it’s looking bad, it’s looking pretty fucking bad” and the crowd follows. Just as smooth as he goes into the groove, he slips out into a sort of domestic commentary, with talks of birds singing, bugs biting, squirrels copulating, and even a pot of coffee.
“Do you know where I’m going with this?” he says before diving back into the song, exclaiming, “It’s looking good, it’s looking good…”
And the night was good, all the way through, especially when Girlpool joined on stage to sing “Country,” with a skin-crawling harmony and Maine beaming behind them while he played his mellow-toned keys. “Break the water with your arms.” Never not touching or averting their eyes, Avery Tucker and Harmony Tividad began to giggle as the song came to a close, like watching the end of an early episode of Twin Peaks, again with the throwback vibes of the night.
Rounding out his set, Maine, with much support from the crowd, stumbled awkwardly through “daddies.” Lord how the crowd screamed from takeoff, “You look so pretty and I look so mean.” This is a man that writes for every person in the crowd, and that glorious energy never stalled, even when he’d dip out of the words. That holy cacophony could make anyone a believer of his words. “Well I’m a jackass, I’m a dog. How many more of these sad songs can one boy write?”
But before he dove in one last time in, alone on stage but surely not in song, Maine said his piece and left it at that:
“You asked for it. Smoke a cig and enjoy the night.”
Earlier in the night, I biked up to Hollywood Forever and caught Maine walking out of the Masonic Lodge for some other peace before the show commenced. Chatting with a friend, a cigarette dangling in his hand and walking out towards Santa Monica, I think he was having a good night all right.
“Music keeps me alive and I hope that by continuing to make and release it, I can make some people laugh, cry, fall in love, lose their shit, smile, run around, and most importantly help them to feel alive for a brief moment.”