Two Great Bands for the Price of None

July 6th, 2010

Portugal. The Man – The Beach at Governors Island – July 3, 2010

Portugal. The Man - The Beach at Governors Island - July 2, 2010

On a perfect preholiday Saturday night, The Beach at Governors Island was an urban oasis with Portugal. The Man—and show-opener Alberta Cross’s blazing fireworks display of crackling rock and roll—serving up the soundtrack. With the sun recently departed over the horizon, a light breeze blowing, sand from the Water Taxi Beach sticking to our toes, tap beer in hand and July 4th just a couple of hours away, it would seem like a radio-friendly red, white and blue set was in order for the headliner. But Portugal. The Man doesn’t paint in those shades, sticking instead to their Day-Glo, funked-out psychedelia.

From where I was standing, the tone of John Gourley’s guitar was a bit thin and under amplified, leaving Zachary Carothers’ bass and Ryan Neighbors’ keyboards to carry the music. This brought an extra-groovy underbelly to early-set versions of “How the Leopard Got Its Spots” and “The Sun.” Gourley’s voice, though, was the dominant element in the mix, crisply carrying across the crowd, over the river to Manhattan and back.

The band didn’t shy away from any open-ended rocking out, turning their backs to the audience and ripping through a fuzzy jam on nearly every song. The show ended with the pairing of the near-perfect “People Say” segueing into “AKA M80 the Wolf,” both of which had the ready-for-the-long-weekend crowd belting out the chorus rock-anthem style. The vocals took center stage for the encore, with the quartet singing moving versions of “Created” and “1989” before sending us back across the water to the real world again. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane |