Portland-by-way-of-Alaska experimental rockers, Portugal. The Man, played to a half-full Hub on Monday, Nov. 1.
Although the crowd could easily have been suffering from the Isla Vista-wide post-Halloween hangover (which could have accounted for the sparse turnout), they still managed to wrangle some enthusiasm for the band, touring in support of their latest album American Ghetto. Although it was the last night on their tour, Portugal. The Man still played a set worthy of cheering for, if you’re into meandering jams that seem to start and stop without reason or regard for entertainment value. Full disclosure: I am not a fan of bands “jamming” onstage. It’s boring, repetitive, and I am reminded of jazz. In fact, there has only ever been one concert at which I was legitimately happy that the band decided to play something other than what appeared on the album.
That being said (hat tip, Larry David), the band did a pretty good job of keeping energy, especially when the sparse crowd and last-night-of-the-tour doldrums are taken into account. They played all of their major hits (if “The Dead Dog” counts as a hit, I’m not entirely sure, but they definitely played “People Say”) and everyone seemed to really like it. While I found their insistence that everyone should pay attention to what great musical improvisers they are grating and gratuitous, the crowd reacted almost unanimously positively to their Pink Floyd-meets-Grateful Dead style performance.
One thing of note: a seemingly very confused girl wandered around for the better part of the show, passing in front of the people I was standing with at least 10 times before finally settling on standing to the right side of the stage. To this girl or people who know her: what were you looking for? We thought that it might be a salad bar, but after the first six or seven times, we figured she would have realized that whatever it was not only was not there, but probably was not going to be magically generated into the Hub any time soon.
For more from Portugal. The Man, head online to dailynexus.com and listen to Artsweek Editor Michael Hafford discuss everything from gang affiliation to skateboarding between Russia and Alaska with bassist Zach Carothers and keyboard player Ryan Neighbors.