The Alaska-bred band has been touring smaller clubs and the Troubadour was a massive underplay for them. The last time I saw their full show was on a double-bill with GROUPLOVE that took place at the Greek Theatre. This show was packed full of die-hards who probably hadn’t gotten a chance to see them in a while, unless they were lucky enough to have caught them surprise open for Bear Vs. Shark at the Echoplex last weekend.
The band has featured a revolving lineup, but this iteration featured all the core members. John Gourley’s killer vocals, which could be considered a slight falsetto, were at the forefront. His skills as a guitarist are supremely overlooked. Zach Carothers wailed on the bass and vocals. Aaron Steele was on drums, Kyle O’Quin handled keyboards and Zoe Manville helped out on vocals.
Watching a Portugal. The Man show, it’s impossible to miss just how catchy their songs are. They are great at writing hooks, ones that flow naturally and are easy to remember by the time the second chorus rolls around. The crowd was mostly comprised of hardcore fans that knew every word to every song. Even though people were packed in pretty tight quarters, everyone seemed to be enjoying every second. There might not be a better band when it comes to writing millennial anthems.
The band hasn’t released a new album since 2013’s Evil Friends, and you can tell people are ready for a new record based on how their newer material was received. One new song “Noise Pollution” is likely to be the first single from that upcoming record and it went over extremely well for the band.
It was the old favorites that brought the most smiles. One thing I love about Portugal. The Man is how they seamlessly incorporate covers into their songs, almost like a medley. Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” led perfectly into “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.” “Evil Friends” led into the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia “Day Man” jam. “Atomic Man” went right into “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones to close the show.
The band also had a killer strings section accompany them during their set. They sounded their best during “So American,” adding some real depth to the tune that helped land them on the map. Another thing I love about this band is how killer their breakdowns are in the middle of songs. Gourley at times shreds on the guitar in a way that would make Gary Clark Jr. proud.
Carothers took a moment to thank the crowd for their continued support, recalling earlier shows in their career at the famed venue. He slapped hands with a couple of people in the front row, remarking that he knew about half of them on a first-name basis.
It was one of the better shows I saw all year and like everyone else, I can’t wait for new Portugal. The Man songs to emerge so we can start learning all the words. The next time they’re around LA, they’ll surely be playing a venue sizably larger than they did Thursday. Check out the full setlist from Thursday night’s show below the photo gallery.
Also, Portugal. The Man has the best sense of humor. Just look at what their photo pass for the show looked like. I’d love to have beers with them someday. Their outlook on life seems pretty damn great.