Portugal. The Man at House of Blues, 6/28/13
Ever since getting word of the opportunity of interviewing Portugal. The Man, my mind has been on nearly nothing but them. I've basically been living in Portugal for the past two weeks. Finally, with the show in the bag, I can move on to other countries, such as my own pillow and blanket. I've had the album on repeat, and have been Google-ing everything about the P.TM for what seems like forever.
Photos by Jim Bricker.
Finally, they were on a stage in front of me, and I had no problem jamming the hell out of them.
Arriving at what I thought was super early, opening act Guards were already a few songs into their set. The crowd was much bigger than I had expected for a quarter past eight, filling out the main floor to the soundboard at the back. The band sounded great, and had an amazing amount of energy, but unfortunately the opener's sound guy apparently forgot to put a q-tip to his ears before coming to work. It was super muddy and distorted, and seemed to be several decibels louder on the right side than the left.
Guards are the type of band that need to have a clean sound, but unfortunately that wasn't the case throughout their performance. Still, their set came across as very mature for such a young band, with touches of '60s psychedelia shining through the standard indie fare.
Thankfully, as soon as the headliners made their way to stage, they fixed any sound problem there might've been.
After about 45 minutes of set change, Portugal. The Man slinked onto stage and quickly jumped into "Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue," the standout single from their new record, Evil Friends. After a run through of a few older tracks, and a brief take on "Day Man" from Always Sunny In Philadelphia, the title track to their new record continued the energetic set that had taken place from the get-go. The mostly white, not-as-young-of-a-crowd as I expected seemed to enjoy the set, but I couldn't really tell because the music was loud enough to drown out any potential conversation that might've been taking place.
Last time Portugal. The Man came to town, the youngins had taken over Fitzgerald's, mostly getting kicked out for underage drinking and general stupidity before the band even hit the stage. This show was different. It's like the kiddos decided to give us older, music loving folk a break for the night. The crowd was respectful to the band, and seemed to actually be enjoying what their hard earned dollars afforded them that particular evening. I even saw people singing along. What a revelation.
The band fed off the energy of the crowd, and sweated out a spectacular nearly two hour set of new and old material. Evil Friends was surely the focus of the set, which seemed to be alright with the vast majority of the fans. A band that consistently puts out top-notch material has the ability to either focus on their latest effort, or feed their fans a greatest hits set. Over the years, I've seen a fair helping of the both, but this night was dedicated to the new. Not saying they didn't play older material - they did - but the shows highlights came from their more practiced newer album stuff.