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ALTON - Alton’s popular band Porch Café loves Led Zeppelin, and for good reason: The band is climbing the stairway to heaven.
Or at least, to major success. The group just released their first music video, and with a growing fanbase in the Riverbend area, Porch Café is set to have a busy summer schedule ahead.
"When I first saw these guys, I was really blown away. Their musicianship is excellent. Their talent level is through the roof,” Don Lanier, who manages the band’s sound equipment, said. “It’s a great band to work for and work with.”
Anyone who sees Porch Café is quick to tell you that the band is a family, and not just metaphorically. The group was born when lead singer Alivia Levi posted a video of her two brothers playing guitar with Alivia’s vocals. Keyboardist Lenny Levi and guitarist Will Levi have been playing instruments for most of their lives, and Alivia is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in opera and vocal performance.
There’s no opera here, but the band does play a wide variety of music, from classic rock to 80s music to jazz. Bassist Jody Grinder, who Alivia, Lenny and Will call “dad,” introduced them to much of the music that they play. Together with lead guitarist Brent McCarty and drummer TJ Callahan, the band has rocketed to success since they formed in 2020.
"It is a ton of fun. We practice twice a week and have a couple beers while we’re practicing,” Alivia said.
The group practices a variety of covers, most of which have been requested by audience members. From Tina Turner to Guns N’ Roses, the setlist varies, but the passion never wavers. The band tries to make every song their own.
Porch Cafe appeared on a recent Our Daily Show. You can watch the Our Daily by clicking here.
“Most things that are thrown our way, we usually take it on and adapt and find some creative way to go about it,” Lenny said.
Porch Café currently has gigs scheduled out to December, and they’re eager for more chances to get on the stage and play the music they love. In a lot of ways, Porch Café is a passion project.
“Everybody gets to just be who they are,” McCarty said. “Every song is fun for us.”
This fun is obvious. As they prepared to perform at last weekend’s Miles Davis Jazz Festival, the group bantered about the music as they waited for their set. Callahan joked that Alivia always arrives ten minutes before they’re scheduled to go on, leaving the others to set up in the hours before.
“I’ll do a little finger magic,” McCarty said of the day ahead, moments before starting an argument with Will about who plays the best guitar solo (both men say the other is better).
Porch Café released their first music video on Monday, June 12. Jason McAtee, the band’s sound tech, did the audio mixing through McAtee Productions. EdgeRunner Productions, headed by Kyle Cummings, is responsible for the video work. You can visit Porch Café’s website or Facebook page to listen and learn more about the band and their upcoming gigs.
While a few members are related, the band goes beyond blood. Callahan is preparing to leave Porch Café so he can focus on his education, but before he departed, he expressed the strength of their bond with a very apt word.
“We’re family,” Callahan said. “I love the family. It’s just fantastic.”
Porch Cafe appeared on the Our Daily Show with C.J. Nasello. Click here to see other Our Daily Shows.
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