Portugal. The Man Plays Biggest Show to Date

June 6th, 2011

Portugal. The Man – Webster Hall – June 3, 2011

Portugal. The Man’s sold-out show at Webster Hall, in anticipation of their new album, In the Mountain in the Cloud, certainly didn’t disappoint the fans. In fact, everyone in the audience looked like they were worshipping the band. People sang along so loud that I’m sure their voices will be shot for three days. The show opened with a video montage that showcased frontman John Baldwin Gurley roughing it in the great outdoors and closed with him tripping and shooting himself in the face. And nothing really spells anticipation like a good old shot in the face.

PTM brought it, playing both older and newer songs, displaying their range and growth. For instance, “The Woods,” off 2009’s The Satanic Satanist, highlighted the band’s tendency to go with psychedelic ballads while “Bellies Are Full,” from 2007’s Church Mouth, leaned more toward a catchy rock song. Gurley’s soothing voice is forceful with many delicate layers to it. But this band isn’t just about the singer. Ryan Neighbors held it down on keys, creating a sweet presence against the rhythm of Jason Sechrist’s awesomely furious drumming and Zachary Scott’s depth on bass. The encore, “And I,” off 2008’s Censored Colors, was completely ablaze and a great example of how Portugal. The Man can be chill and melodic at one moment and then launch into a full-out jam frenzy the next.

Going to a Portugal. The Man show is like getting lost in an awesome foggy haze. They come at you with a calm confidence, but like with a ticking bomb, you just never know when these guys are going to explode. The group easily drifts from a quiet serenade into straight-up explosive rock. Unlike some artists who get onstage and just expect their presence to be enough, these guys make their presence known. You know dudes are rocking it when there is legit sweat dripping through their shirts. —Kristen Ferreira