With a career spanning twelve years and eight albums it’s quite surprising that it wasn’t until their eighth studio album that Portugal The Man had their first charting hit. I mean, their music has always been quite experimental and psychedelic so their sound hasn’t really translated well to radio before but the Grammy award winning “Feel It Still” saw them stepping towards a more pop influenced sound and delivered a hook that you won’t forget. To celebrate the release of their album “Woodstock” the Alaskan six piece returned to Australia for a massive headline run of shows as well as appearing at Groovin The Moo. They were last here in 2014 for Laneway Festival and it’s very apparent that their live show has grown a lot since and they are truly on top of their game at the moment.
Kicking off the show with a cover of Metallica’s “From Whom The Bell Tolls” and Pink Floyds “Another Brick On The Wall Part 2” the band set the psychedelic rock vibe for the show and transported the Brisbane crowd to a different world. The band briefly welcomed the crowd to the show and thanked them for coming along. This was about as much crowd interaction the band had throughout the night but it was perfect because they replaced it with phrases that were projected behind them on a screen. This counteracted the interaction and created some humorous and thought invoking moments. “Purple Yellow Red And Blue”, “Number One” and current single “Live In The Moment” quickly followed and delivered some big sing-along moments that showcased their unique hook songwriting. It quickly became apparent that they love a good cover and delivered their unique interpretations of “Children Of The Revolution” by T.REX, “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones” as well as “I Want You” and “Hey Jude” by The Beatles which were mixed into the setlist. However they didn’t forget their huge discography and covered all bases including “Creep In A T-shirt”, “Atomic Man”, “Modern Jesus”, “Sleep Forever” and “Smile”. While they were performing “All Your Light” a message appeared on the screen behind them reassuring the crowd that they were playing “THAT” song next. As anticipated “Feel It Still” unleashed a euphoric singalong that had everyone’s inhibitions removed. However it was a bit obvious that the band were just happy to get it out of the way as they just powered through the song where as with the other songs the interpolated a jam breakdown or a cover. They closed the show with fan favourites “Noise Pollution”, “Hip Hop Kids” and Holy Roller (Hallelujah)” and left everyone feeling like they had just indulged in a massive and exciting acid trip.
The show’s production was very reflective of this with colorful and moody lighting that saw projections being draped over the band and the backdrop creating a very trippy aesthetic. It was a perfect representation of the show and the vibe that their music sets. Their set list was a great representation of their long career and their ever evolving sound however I do wish there was more older material thrown into the mix instead of the high volume of covers.
Check out the full photo gallery captured by The Raveyard Photography here
Photos by Hannah Dodd