Aaron Maine’s Porches project has been one of my favourite acts of the last few tears. When his album Pool came out in 2016 I was in Miami alone and spent the balmy evenings wandering the neon streets listening to his brand of downbeat, sad-boy synth pop, songs like ‘Be Apart’ and ‘Even the Shadow’ mirroring the detachment I was feeling being in this glitzy, fucked up city; it was the perfect match of music and place, and it’s become one of my most listened to albums, Miami and Pool intrinsically Iinked in my psyche for all time. Earlier this year Maine released a follow up, The House, and it’s instantly become my go-to album for walking home through the dark wet streets of Manchester, there’s just something about the shimmering synths and pulsing beats that lends itself to the night in a city.

Maine is here in Manchester tonight with his band, and I couldn’t be more excited, it being my first time seeing the creator of a couple of my favourite albums of the last few years. Taking to the stage in a pretty amazing blue shirt and red sparkly nail polish, his hair back to brown after a brief flirtation with bleach, I’m already in full heart-eyes-emoji fan boy mode before he’s even played a note. Opening with the sublime ‘Now The Water’ (a lot of Porches songs allude to water and its power to wash away or submerge you), we’re treated to the majority of the tracks from The House, interspersed with Pool tracks – it’s pretty much my perfect set list. ‘Find Me’ quietly bangs, the throbbing beat moving the young, hipster crowd (I’ve never seen so many septum piercings in one place); when the chorus breaks there’s positively a club vibe to Deaf. ‘Anymore’ sees Maine put down his guitar and pick up a cowbell, percussion’s greatest achievement, and bang a rhythm out like it’s 2007, snake hips in full flow as the crowd shimmy along with him.

Frequently telling us he loves us, Maine is a charming, magnetic front man. When he slows things down, like on the stunning ‘By My Side’, his falsetto is flawless, and the venue feels intimate, just Maine and a few mates chilling on a Friday night. ‘Ono’ pulls a similar trick, the simple lyrics cutting right to the soul, the longing of, “If I could stay I’d do most anything”, pricking the hairs on my arms to attention. ‘Leave The House’ pulses and throbs to a sparkling electro beat, and ‘Car’ sounds like it could have been made by Depeche Mode in their late 80s pomp, as perfect an electro pop song as you’re likely to hear. ‘Underwater’ draws things to a close, its sexy bass line slinking up and down like a distillation of unrequited love, rumbling the floorboards of the room.

Maine returns with just one guitarist to sing a delicate, wounded ‘Country’, which might be the highlight of the show, standing at the side of the stage, punching through the air as he sings “break the water with your arms”, the crowd gently accompanying him, it’s beautiful. Finishing up with ‘Headsgiving’ from his debut LP Slow Dance in the Cosmos back from his more guitar based indie pop days, it’s a satisfying contrast to the electronic leanings of what has come before, Maine asking us “what did you do when you wanted to die, then you wake up and you don’t want to die anymore?” over spaghetti western guitar twangs and a 60s prom bass line, I like it a lot and it reminds me to check out his early days.

Tonight has only strengthened my massive man-crush on Maine and Porches, he’s been magnificent and the live renderings of the brilliant Pool and The House songs have added another dimension to my enjoyment of the albums. I always think ‘what if Radio 1 played his songs?’, as I genuinely believe he could be a big deal (I think this about How To Dress Well too), but then I selfishly think ‘nah, let’s keep him being amazing in venues like Deaf’ so I can continue to wax lyrical about him to all and sundry as one of ‘my’ things; I don’t think I’m ready to let him go to the masses just yet.

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