By Madeline Wells
The American psychedelic-rock band from Alaska, Portugal. The Man, recently performed Oct 5 in Tulsa. The group opened up the show at Cain’s Ballroom with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”
The notorious protest song set the mood for a lineup that is reminiscent of the 60s and 70s and left the crowd wanting more. The band then played “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” with a light show to match. Portugal. The Man showcased multiple songs from its new album Woodstock along with a variety of songs from previous albums.
The set list was full of nods toward the current social and political status of America while also speaking to the youth. The themes of the set list inspire independence and encouraged one to “live in the moment.” “So American” “Modern Jesus” “Rich friends” and “Got it all” are just a few examples of the rebellious mood set by the band.
Portugal. The Man formed in 2001 in Wasilla, Alaska. After moving to Portland to start recording and touring in 2004, the band steadily rose to fame over the next 10 years.
The group produced their first few albums with Fearless Records in 2006 before parting ways in 2008.
Portugal. The Man played shows and produced independently before signing with Atlantic Records in 2010. After years of touring and headlining festivals, such as the 2012 Norman Music Festival in Norman, Okla. the band had a few changes among the roster.
The group currently consists of John Gourley, Zach Carothers, Kyle O’Quin, Jason Sechrist and Eric Howk.
The alternative rock group’s latest studio album Woodstock was released earlier this year in June.
The band’s latest album has been in the making since 2014, and up until this year was entitled “Gloomin and Doomin.”
The new album title was inspired by an original 1969 Woodstock ticket stub that was owned by Gourley’s father.
Talking with his father led Gourley to realize that music has the same mission it always has “to comment on societal and political unease.” The group then scrapped the “Gloomin and Doomin” album in order to write Woodstock.
The group wanted Woodstock to say something that mattered. The intention was “to write music that would help people feel they’re not alone, even if they’re angry or feeling lost,” said Gourley in an interview with Billboard.
The album intends to reflect our current cultural and social climate. The album’s leading single, “Feel it Still,” topped the Billboard Alternative Songs chart this summer and has become the band’s biggest hit single to date.
The band covered the Beatles’ “I want you (she’s so heavy).” Portugal‘s take on the iconic Beatles’ song was well adapted and highlighted the band’s use of synthesizers and technical skills on the bass. The use of red lighting during the Beatles cover transported the crowd to a night from the past.
“Thank you for buying and or stealing our music” was projected onto the background while the band played “Waves” and was a funny poke at a reality of the music industry. The same phrase was printed on shirts for sale at the merchandise table.The band had another shirt that read “I liked Portugal. The Man before they sold out,” which also pokes fun of some accusations the band has received. Some fans feel that the band’s new album is a synthetic attempt to appeal to a wider audience.
When a band expands its musical style, it is often seen as selling out rather than experimentation and growth.
Portugal. The Man ended the Tulsa show with its single “Feel It Still” accompanied by pink and blue geometric graphics, but the crowd insisted on an encore.
The band obliged by playing “So So far away” before exiting the stage. The audience was enthusiastic throughout the whole evening and experienced an impressionable show to remember.
Portugal. The Man succeeded in sending a message about spirited youth through a fun and upbeat performance.