Lineup: PORCHES / ALEX G / YOUR FRIEND
Venue: THE BOTTOM LOUNGE (West Loop, 1375 W Lake St)
I was sold the minute I saw that Porches were playing a concert with Alex G, and it was even better that it was at a venue I hadn’t been to before. New experiences are cool in the music world, and it’s especially great to experience a venue for the first time, mainly to hear how the acoustics compare to other stages across town and how an artist can interact with the space. The Bottom Lounge definitely lived up to expectations, as the stage wasn’t too elevated and allowed for a more intimate connection with the audience that places like the Aragon Ballroom, where your neck hurts hours after a show.
The only thing that made me skeptical going in was the show time, which was noted on the ticket as 5pm, but it turned out to be a plus by the end of the night. Doors at 5pm, the show started at 5:30 and then was over by around 8pm.
Your Friend opened up the night and is fronted by Taryn Miller from Lawrence, Kansas. The band definitely surprised me with a big sound straight away, and seemed to blend the addition of synth well with guitars drenched in reverb and chorus. They played a short set, lasting only about five songs, but captured my attention with an experienced stage presence and some catchy hooks.
Though my interest mainly lay in seeing Porches, Alex G was an act I was excited about. The lo-fi artist is originally of Bandcamp fame (a la Car Seat Headrest) and creates gritty and authentic short stories from the comfort of his home in Philadelphia, PA. “Kicker”, “People”, and “Animals” were crowd favorites, and rightfully so. The stringy and sun-soaked guitars sustained my attention for most of the set, but I ended up getting thrown off when there was no introduction and no real audience interaction. Time between songs, albeit short, was filled by the drummer, who seemed to be the most excited to play for the crowd. Alex G and band took on a heavier sound live than what I had expected, but ended up being an above average performance and an enjoyable experience altogether.
Once Porches hit the stage, there was an immediate difference between band ecosystems. Aaron Maine, now bleached blonde and proud, conveyed a certain interest with the audience he was facing tonight, and it showed. Songs like “Headsgiving” and “Car” immediately filled the room, and the infectious and openly cheesy choreography added a fun element to the set. Though I had doubts about how some of the more electronic songs would pan out live, “Be Apart”, “Underwater”, and “Braid” had wonderful and full arrangements that showcased the drummer’s ability to mix programs with the acoustic. After the bassist was brought into the crowd on the shoulders of an Alex G band member during “Permanent Loan”, Maine closing out the concert with an encore of “Xanny Bar” in the dark.
All in all, The Bottom Lounge provided an exceptional setting for a night filled with up and coming indie music acts, as I expect all three artists to continue rising up the ladder with subsequent releases.
Support the artists!
Your Friend – Gumption (2016)
Alex G – Beach Music (2015)
Porches – Pool (2016)