There are only a few bands that I consider must sees when they come to town. Bands that make such wonderful sound and put on amazing live performances that not seeing them, not paying that price of admission, is tragic for any self-respecting music journo to not witness. Portugal. The Man is on that list for this journo at least, and I live by a code of no nonsense with plenty of nonsense so my opinion should be trusted. So, when I learned that Portugal. The Man would be coming to the Midland, the very spot we were introduced to them several years ago, I knew coverage was a must. Since they were playing the venue the very day their new album was released, my need was much more urgent. So, I’m pleased to say that after some persistent correspondence with my editor-in-chief – bordering harassment – the assignment was acquired.
Happy times, we were off to the races.
The night of the show my colleague and I met for drinks an hour before the show to soften our brains so we could soak in the upcoming experience with ease. An Uber ride there and it was almost show time, we had just enough time for a fast trip to the VIP lounge to toast some more cocktails then it was time to do the work and not break too many laws while doing so.
It was strange at first as the band took the stage. I had seen them so many times before but now they came out to an expensive LED background and with no small talk jumped into a Metallica cover song (“For Whom the Bell Tolls“). It was a moment of realization these fuckers were no longer the band I saw in this very spot in the dead of winter many years ago. They were now a band on the certain kind of level that few bands ever reach. The energy, and sound, that spoke from the stage said “big time.” I had seen it happen with Awolnation a couple of years back and now I was seeing it with these guys.
As the music kept flowing my personal favorite bassist of any band, Zachary Scott Carothers, started to show his stage force and talent as the band went into “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2/Purple Yellow Red and Blue”. Magic, I thought, as somehow this band brought me to that musical nirvana once again and after meeting one another nine times before, our romance and passion was strong as ever. As the set list went on the we got into the deep cuts with “Feel it Still”, a song they would play twice that night because, why not? Then my personal favorites “Got It All” and “Holy Roller”, while the band only played a couple of songs off their new album.
By the end of the set I was getting to the point of rolling from a soft brain to a liquid brain and thought, “What a rare thing to be here at the Midland on a night like this, to see a band that hit its stride multiple albums ago keep progressing.” To be clear that is the hardest level to hit as a band, to do something great, then do something even more great, over and over again. It’s the magic folks and after doing this music gig for eight years I can’t say I’ve ever seen it done in my lifetime in the way that Portugal. The Man does it. Seemly over, and over again….
Folks! It gets no better and it makes you think, “I wonder what else they have brewing up in Alaska?”
by: Josh Davis
Keep up with Portugal. The Man here.