I once read Porcelain Raft‘s lead singer Mauro Remiddi described as an “indie pop old soul,” but last night at Bottom of the Hill I had completely forgotten. I knew Porcelain Raft as a bedroom pop-project and that’s about it. So you can imagine my surprise when Remiddi stepped onto the stage, a confident mid-30s man with a two-piece backing band joining him. The rest of the evening was spent learning a lot more about Remiddi and his band, Porcelain Raft.

For starters, the band’s latest album Permanent Signal practically smothers itself with Beach House vibes, but, in the flesh, Remiddi’s (who was born in Italy and used to live in London) music pulls from wide-eyed Britpop, American-alt groups like Mercury Rev, and the leader of the free-synth pop world, Ben Gibbard. Remiddi’s high pitched voice, which is by no means fantastic, brings with it a distinct confidence that’s endearing and remarkably compelling. In an age of bedroom pop artists hiding behind laptops and synth boards, Remiddi felt close and unafraid to engage the audience. The band plays loud too, with the occasional thunderous drum crash highlighting the night’s heaviest moments. “Cluster” and “Minor Pleasure” proved just how strong PR’s live show can really be, as the band finished off an engaging set that drew mostly from Permanent Signal.

The night opened with a set of twinkling pop gems by Bay Area quartet The Tambo Rays. “Rest Your Mind In The Sky”, which the Bay Bridged premiered back in July, sounded especially good as lead singer and guitarist Brian DaMert’s delicate voice took center stage. Like Porcelain Raft, The Tambo Rays bring a much appreciated edge to their live show.