The Danforth Music Hall was graced with Alaska’s biggest musical export ever this past Thursday night as psych-pop crew Portugal. The Man brought their weird and witty show to the Toronto venue.
John Gourley and company are men of few words; they prefer to let their music do the talking rather than engage in typical stage banter. They’re far from dour though, showing off their clever sense of humor by using captions on the screen behind them. They entered to the sound of The Righteous Brothers‘ “Unchained Melody” and the word “Applause” imploring the crowd to clap for them.
More tongue-in-cheek jokes followed, with messages like “We are Portugal. The Man. Just making sure you’re at the right show”, “Thanks for buying and/or stealing our new album”, and “That’s right kids only live instruments, no computers up here” popping up throughout the set. These captions were interspersed with a lot of trippy, and occasionally bizarre CGI visuals that added a surreal vibe to the concert.
This was the band’s second time in the city this year, the first being their set at Field Trip this past June. Their new album Woodstock was released later that month however, so a return visit was necessary. Sure to be follow-up singles like “So Young” and the thunderous “Live in the Moment” were unveiled to a crowd all too ready for the new material. New material which of course includes one of 2017’s biggest singles, period: the inescapable funk-pop hit “Feel it Still”. After toiling away for over a decade the band has gained mainstream notoriety thanks to the song, leading to them frequently playing it twice during the same set this tour. It’s a move that’s both confounded and delighted audiences.
The band loves their covers too; buried in between their original songs were many bits and pieces of other bands’ songs, including Metallica‘s “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, Pink Floyd‘s “Another Brick in the Wall”, Oasis‘ “Don’t Look Back In Anger”, and the guitar solo from Weezer‘s “Say it Ain’t So”.
After striking gold with their eighth album, it’s clear that Portugal. The Man have big ambitions to be as iconic as the legends they cover. Judging by their live show, they’re very much on the right track.