By MacKenzie O’Brien
I walked into the Music Hall on April 7th with no idea what to expect. My friends raved about Portugal. The Man, but I had never gotten around to checking them out. So when the band took to the sparse, low-lit stage, I worried I might be sitting through 2 hours of low-fi hipster shit, but as soon as they launched into their hit “Modern Jesus”, I was hooked. The band’s catchy, electronic beats are a perfect match for singer John Gourley’s amazing falsetto, and their high-energy performance created a great atmosphere in the Hall. Their new track “Feel it Still”, from their forthcoming album “Woodstock”, is nothing if not a fun, dance floor filling pop song. I didn’t even mind that they played the song again as an encore…but, strange?
Gourley wasn’t much for bantering with the audience, but his performance was vibrant from the first note. He struck a sharp contrast with the psychedelic backdrop in his all white coat and pants look, and his dance moves made me want to get up out of my seat. At first I found it an odd choice to forego spotlights on the band members in favor of a dark stage, but after the show I realized I was forced to focus on the music more than the musicians: a demonstration of Portugal. The Man’s tendency to buck the norm.
By the time the band started “Purple Yellow Red & Blue”, I had already added 3 tracks to my Spotify playlist. It’s been awhile since I’ve found a new band that caught my attention the way Portugal. The Man did, and seeing their sold out show at the Music Hall was an amazing experience. Fingers crossed that they make their way back to Charleston very soon.