Concert review: Portugal. The Man at Palace Theatre – St. Paul, MN – February 9, 2018

All photos courtesy Joe Stadele Photography.  All rights reserved.

On Friday night’s sold out Palace Theatre performance, Portugal. The Man let the music do the talking…and had it cranked to 11, possibly 12. Despite the fact the Alaskan-natives won best Grammy-winning “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” and their songs have the produced flourishes, make no mistake, PtM are all rock. Dig a little deeper and it’s pretty clear the devil is in the details; from Friday’s metal and prog openers to the twisted projected imagery and commentary, Portugal. The Man enjoy playing and preying on perception.

NO COMPUTERS UP HERE, JUST LIVE INSTRUMENTS.”

Before taking the stage Friday night, Portugal. The Man serenaded fans with the smooth romance of the Righteous Brothers”Unchained Melody.” Meanwhile, a projection across the stage read, “We are not very good at stage banter, so tonight’s performance will feature some slogans written by our management. Thank you for your continues understanding.” With that, the band let the music do the talking – in fact little was said until about 45 minutes into the set; just humorous messages projected against Paulin Rouge’s twisted imagery.

Guitarist Eric Howk is a hell of a guitarist and led the band in a monstrous cover of Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” Vocalist/guitarist John Gourley took the stage and the band seamlessly moved into Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall: Part 2” followed by the fan-favorite “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.” As rainbow lasers grazed the audience and strobes lit the house, it was clear Portugal.The Man wear their influences on their sleeves; from above mentioned bands to teases of Bowie, the Beatles and John Gourley’s Angus Young-inspired stage attire.

With a few exceptions, the Palace Theatre is one of the best sounding venues in the Twin Cities. However, on Friday night Gourley’s vocals were largely buried in the mix which more times than not, was distorted. Perhaps it was a nod to Metallica’s mastering of Death Magnetic, but more likely whomever was behind the soundboard  hadn’t fine tuned the mix. But as one projection stated (which I sincerely appreciate), “That’s right kids, there are no computers up here, just live instruments.” In a music world where lip-syncing and computers have become offensively commonplace and grossly accepted, Portugal. The Man prove authenticity and raw talent still prevail.

The Alaska-meets-Portland act will be on the road through, at least, October. For latest tour dates, click here.

Setlist:
For Whom the Bell Tolls [Metallica cover]
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 [Pink Floyd cover]
Purple Yellow Red and Blue/Fame [David Bowie tease]
Atomic Man
Modern Jesus
Live in the Moment
Feel It Still
All Your Light (Times Like These)/I Want You (She’s So Heavy) [The Beatles cover]
So Young
Noise Pollution
So American
Rich Friends
Number One
Hip Hop Kids
Holy Roller (Hallelujah)
Encore:
Sleep Forever / Smile / Hey Jude [The Beatles cover]

 

 

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