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Alex G and Porches Close Out Tour at The Bowery Ballroom on Friday

April 18th, 2016

Alex G/Porches – The Bowery Ballroom – April 15, 2016

(Photo: Dan Rickershauser)

(Photo: Dan Rickershauser)

If you’re going to close your tour right, one of the best ways to do it is with two sold-out shows in New York City—on Wednesday at Music Hall of Williamsburg and then on Friday at The Bowery Ballroom. And if you’re going to end the finale right, one of the best ways to do that is to get all the bands onstage to jam on Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.” Such is how Porches and Alex G ended their tour together on Friday on the Lower East Side. The two bands make for an interesting billing, although each have a knack for defying genres and are seemingly good friends. “This is our last show with Porches and Your Friend, which is good because they are the worst fucking bands,” joked Alex G.

This doesn’t mean the venue wasn’t jam packed for Porches’ set (it was). The band’s on a serious upward trajectory with the recent release of the much-acclaimed Pool—the album’s a departure from the sound of their previous release, Slow Dance in the Cosmos. And if you go to their bandcamp and chart their progress, you’ll notice that drastic changes in sound is kind of their M.O. Pool features a much synth-ier, down-tempo sound, although the songs played with a live band featured an added tinge of funkiness, making for easy dancing. “Let the booty do what the booty wants to do, because the booty gonna do what the booty wants to do,” singer Aaron Maine told the audience. And while this has been said at every Porches show I’ve ever attended, the new songs do make the booty shaking much more involuntary. “Mood” sounded almost tropical, with the synths nearly taking on a steel-drum sound. There’s no fat in Porches’ songs, as soon as you fall into the groove of “Mood,” it’s already on its way out. They played a few bars of Alex G’s “Walk,” easily the most Porches-sounding song in his catalog. And things got noticeably more up-tempo as the set went on, with the stop-and-start momentum of “After Glow” acting as the in-between. “Be Apart” started off within an industrial beat before shaking itself free of the rhythmic shackles for the refrain “I wanna be a part of it all.” The set ended with the hard-rocking “Skinny Trees,” by far their loudest tune of the night.

Alex G’s well-known for crafting songs close to their inspiration, lo-fi in the sense that they’re not entirely scrubbed of the weirdness they were born with. They’re sure to sound different played with a live four-piece, and it might not be apparent in their recordings how much his band loves to rock out. In these fine moments you could find Alex G slinking back and forth onstage, rocking out with his tongue out. The emotional honesty with which he writes his songs remained fully intact. “Black Hair” featured a calming lullaby of a melody interrupted by some unsettling squealing guitars before returning to its cheerful groove. “Mary” sounded like a downright upbeat pop song before collapsing into the final lines of “Mary is the girl that leaves you to rot, she says I am real and you are not.” And “Rules” sounded like Elliott Smith, who was also known for emotionally honest songwriting, could’ve written it. These are two bands led by guys with some serious writing chops, Aaron Maine of Porches and Alex Giannascoli of … well, Alex G. Expect much to come from both, haphazard covers of “Smoke on the Water” are just the beginning. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks