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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, January 30, 2023

Rivergazer, Japanese Breakfast, Porches bring personality and performance to High Noon

At this point, after going to three of their shows in the past five months, seeing Porches is a ritual: Brush your teeth, go to work, do laundry, go see Porches. But unlike most rituals, no matter how many times I see them, the last thing Porches will ever be is mundane.

First things first, this wasn’t just a Porches show. Sure, Porches headlines, but both Rivergazer and Japanese Breakfast were just as good in unique ways. I feel sorry for the stragglers that wandered as Japanese Breakfast wrapped up their set, thinking they got there just in time for the “real show.”

The latecomers were probably wondering why the walls were caked in steam after the Rivergazer’s set. Even though I was nowhere near a wall, I have a feeling I’m right. Rivergazer’s sound is steamy—downright make-out music. If you played their album in a room of prepubescents, you’d likely need a certified health educator to explain what was happening to their bodies. Luckily, High Noon Saloon is 18+ and we all managed to keep it together. There were undeniable sonic links to Porches as Kevin Farrant, the man behind Rivergazers, is also in Porches. But Rivergazer maintained their own sound and served as a thread into the latest set.

The highlight of my night was easily Japanese Breakfast. I had seen her on her last tour with Mitski, and spent most of the month leading up to this show thinking about seeing her again. Michelle Zauner is a firecracker. Oozing with talent, the stage houses her vast and candid emotional vocabulary, expressed in so much more than words. If you haven’t listened to her album Psychopomp yet, I behoove you to go into a full sprint toward the nearest record store and fix that problem. And catch her next performance. You’re welcome.

Porches is dripping with self-aware camp and their distinct, goofy brand of smart millennial postmodern irony, but nothing about their talent is ingenuine. The band’s stage presence consists of dry humor, eccentric fashion and aberrant choreography, including synched hips, hand symbols and wide-stance kneeling.

“Everyone put their cowboy hats on right now or else we’re fucking stopping the set right now,” lead singer Aaron Maine joked with stone-like seriousness. Then, Aaron stared at the silent crowd, just waiting, prompting another bout of laughter before finally starting “Headsgiving.” At times, Porches’ antics may seem emotionally distant, especially with heavy lyrics like “What do you do when you wanted to die? /Then you wake up and you don't wanna die anymore.” But, this impression is consistent with the emotional tactics of our generation. In our meme-ridden Internet world, silliness is a comfort, an icebreaker, an art form. It’s a way of signifying that you don’t take yourself too seriously, creating a space to actually be genuine. And genuine or not, with their synthpop dance music and unique tendencies, Porches’ performances are fun, regardless of how many times you’ve seen them.

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