By Tommy Diehl
Portugal. The Man, a five-piece band from Wasilla, Alaska, took 9:30 Club on a psychedelic- infused rock experience Sunday night. Playing for a second straight night at the sold-out venue, the band decided to mix things up with a new set list that included some surprises.
The night began with an energetic and uplifting set by hip-hop artist HDBeenDope. Constantly bouncing around on stage and waving his arms in the air, HDBeenDope seemed to be enjoying the performance as much as anyone in the energetic crowd.
In what might have been the only moment that he stopped to take a breath, HDBeenDope thanked the crowd and told them, “You guys are making me feel like I’m at home.” Later, Portugal. The Man took the stage and launched into “Church Mouth,” a song they rarely play live, off their 2007 album, Church Mouth.
As soon as the raucous song came to a close, the band transitioned into a couple of crowd-pleasing hits with “Atomic Man” and “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now).” These songs got the crowd singing along as they belted out the lyrics, “You got it all ‘til the revolution comes.”
Vocalist and bassist Zach Carothers paused between songs to address a man holding a flag in the balcony that read, “Portugal. The Man: Official Band of The Revolution,” telling him that they would trade anything for it after the show.
Behind the band, a massive screen provided a visual experience like no other to accompany the music throughout the set. Taking the audience on a trip through psychedelic forests, sexually-charged images of mannequin-like figures, tetris-like grids and a whirlwind of colors, the visuals created a unique concert experience.
The climax of the show seemed to come halfway through the set with “All Your Light (Times Like These).” The collision of dramatic electronic elements, subtle keyboard, distorted guitar, cascading drums and the stimulating light show behind them combined to create a powerful display that could have knocked over any unprepared audience member.
After this nearly 10-minute long mashup, the band brought out a new song, “Noise Pollution,” which featured a heavier use of synthesizers that may become a defining element on their new album, Woodstock, set to be released June 16. “Feel It Still,” another song off their upcoming album soon got the crowd dancing to its groovy beat while they sang along to lyrics like, “Ooh woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks now, I been feeling it since 1966 now.”
“Evil Friends,” the title track off their most recent album kept the crowd energized as it was nearly impossible not to air-guitar along with the song. Flawlessly transitioning into a psychedelia-laced rendition of “Day Man” from the hit show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the band somehow managed to turn a comical 30-second song into an entrancing rock experience.
Before launching into their final song, Carothers addressed the crowd, saying, “We love this venue so much and it just gets better every time.”
Despite it being their biggest hit, Portugal. The Man managed to mix things up with “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” by bringing HDBeenDope back out on stage. As energetic as ever, HDBeenDope got the crowd hyped up before diving into his own verse of the song.
Returning to the stage for an encore, thunderous applause broke out as the screen behind them displayed the words “Hip Hop Kids,” marking the seventh song of their set off their 2013 album Evil Friends. After closing out the show with, “Holy Roller [Hallelujah],” the crowd left the venue with Gourley and Carothers’ piercing vocals ringing in their ears, psychedelic images imprinted in their minds and explosive guitars still vibrating within their bodies.
Featured Photo Credit: Portugal. The Man’s five performing members were all perfectly in sync, and kept the crowd energized throughout the show. (Miranda Rosen/Bloc Photographer)
Tommy Diehl is a freshman architecture major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.