By: Derek Jung
Despite having no new material since their 2013 album Evil Friends, Portugal. The Man is back on the road and looking as good as ever. Known for their powerful, energetic live shows, the band brought the house down at Madison Theater, but not before giving a shout out to former Cincinnati/Covington venue The Mad Hatter. Despite the lack of new material, it did not look to have a large effect on the size of the crowd that came out on a chilly November weekday.
Having never seen them before, I was immediately surprised at the show dynamics. First, the stand up comedian Adam Tod Brown was the first opener. While his act is relatively low brow humor, it was a something to witness before an indie rock band. But wait! He wasn't the only opener. After a quick DJ set by the band's hype man (we'll return to this in a bit), German rapper Casper came out and performed a unexpectedly wild set. So let's quickly recap up to this point. We've had a stand up comedian, a DJ set, and a foreign rapper open up for an indie rock band. Totally bizarre.
After all of that was finished, the hype man returned to the stage to introduce Portugal. The Man. He then proceeded to stay on stage the entire set and interject various "put your hands up" or "make some fucking noise" or [insert pump up phrase here]. It was the cherry on top of one of the strangest shows I've seen for what I came into thinking would be a fairly straight forward set. With all of that static, the question remains. How was the band?
In short, pretty darn great. The performance was tight. Nothing seemed stale or overplayed. In fact, the band was noticeably having a good time. At one point towards the end of the set, the band's manager(?) ran on stage and shoved mushroom-laden chocolate straight into each band member's mouth. Like I said, bizarre! The on stage banter was pretty light, thus the need for the hype man to interact with the crowd, but I didn't feel like anything was lost from it. All in all it was an enjoyable set. The band had a great mash up of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" with "Purple Yellow Red Blue" as well as an Always Sunny in Philadelphia reference of "Dayman Song" as the intro to "So American". It was so cool I posted a video of it below. John Baldwin Gourley's vocals are surprisingly on point to where it sounds on the record. I'm looking forward to hearing some new material from them. Hopefully this coming year.
Watch the band play "So American" and "People Say" on KEXP from 2013 below. Again, the Always Sunny reference in the intro is amazing.
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary (debatable) guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here: