Review and photos by HSA Photo
Portugal. The Man kicked off their tour in Boston with a sold out show at the House of Blues. This tour is for the release of their new album "Woodstock." If I didn't already know this band was from Wasilla, Alaska I would have thought they were straight out of Seattle. They have a jam band feel with long instrumental riffs going through songs without stopping, it felt like I was just listening to an album all the way through. This was interesting to hear because there was no silence during their set, the band didn't even really talk, it was all about the music. I didn't know all of the songs, but it didn't seem to matter. The melodies pulled me a long and I couldn't help but move. In a recent interview with 92.9 they mentioned that growing up in Wasilla they only had two types of music-metal and hip hop. Having this in the back of my mind I started to see how these influences shaped them as a band, from heavy guitar riffs you can head bang to-to breakdowns that let you sway back and forth.
One word I would use to describe their performance would be 'vibey,' it was about the atmosphere. Even though we were in a 2,500 capacity venue there was an intimate feeling, like being at a basement show with friends. I saw groups of guys dancing and singing at the top of their lungs, happiness just radiating from them. There was a comfortable feeling just swaying along with everyone bobbing heads to the beat. Their set featured a giant projection screen with clips showing flashing shapes, giant faces, and tie dye colors morphing together. Lights and production were a large part of the set, most of the time only silhouettes of the band could be seen, or they would step in front of the projection to camouflage into the background. Thinking about it now, not really seeing the band forced me to pay more attention to the music. I wasn't worried about whether of not I could see over the guy in front of me. It didn't seem to matter where I was, I could just close my eyes and let the music wash over me.
Their set featured an impressive 19 songs lasting about 2 hours. This speaks to the bands stamina and ability to put on an entertaining show. They opened with a Metallica cover of 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' followed by 'Purple Yellow Red and Blue.' Lead singer John Gourley displayed fresh vocals setting the tone for the rest of the tour. Bassist Zachary Carothers is a key player in the bands energy, constantly moving and engaging with the crowd. I'm used to seeing the 'cool' bassist jamming in the background so this was refreshing. He gave his all in this performance, like it was the last time he was ever going to perform. The band also played a few songs twice which is unusual. One song being their hit single 'Feel It Still,' which is topping the charts. If you haven't heard this song yet, check it out, but fair warning: it will be stuck in your head for days.
Portugal. The Man's new album 'Woodstock' comes out June 16th