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The Scarlet & Black

Porches, Alex G pack Gardner Lounge

Gardner - John Brady
The new LED lighting system in Gardener brought a fitting atmosphere to the melancholic indie vibes of last Friday’s concert. Photo by John Brady.

Last Friday, April 8, Gardner Lounge played host to one of the most eagerly anticipated lineups of the semester. The shoegaze-inflected haze of Your Friend, the icy ’80s groove of Porches and the melancholic psychedelic folk-punk of Alex G drew a large crowd from as far afield as St. Louis.

The night kicked off with Your Friend, an act from Lawrence, Kan. fronted by Taryn Miller. Characterized by propulsive percussion, gauzy vocals and multiple layers of distorted guitar melodies, Your Friend’s set was at once mesmerizing and energetic. Touring off of her recently released album “Gumption,” Miller’s performance integrated field recordings that distinguish her new material from her more minimalist beginnings.

Porches offered a crisply executed set that pulled primarily from their recent LP, “Pool.” Based in New York and fronted by Aaron Maine, Porches has garnered substantial acclaim for their synthesis of ’80s electronic instrumentation, melodic guitar pop and brooding lyrics. With its piercing drum machine, droning keyboard and bright synths, 2014’s “Forgive” stood as one of the highlights of their performance. Originally recorded with Maine’s partner and frequent collaborator Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos, Kline’s vocals were performed by Maya Laner, a recent addition to Porches’ lineup. Laner is known for her solo project True Blue. Maine’s emotive delivery of the lyrics “How can I tell you ’bout the power of / forgiveness / when you have given me nothing to forgive” greatly contrasted with the effervescence of the production, encapsulating Porches’ ability to emphasize sentiment through bas-relief.

Philadelphia-based musician Alex Giannascoli, performing with his band as Alex G, concluded the night in Gardner with a mesmerizing set. His deft synthesis of punk and psychedelic folk appealed to the crowd, who eagerly sang along to favorites such as the lilting “Brite Boy.” Alex G’s stage presence was endearingly shy, in contrast with the largely confessional nature of his lyrics.

Alex G’s performance was deemed a good fit for Gardner Lounge by audience member Luke Jarzyna ’17.

“I thought the venue was good for Alex G because they’ve been doing their own DIY thing for most of their career, so the space worked for their lo-fi and really emphatic punk rock,” Jarzyna said.

The performances also marked the debut of a new LED lighting system for Gardner Lounge, which promises reduced power consumption and increased flexibility compared to the previous incandescent system.

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