Portugal. The Man. Again I need to stress just how badass this band is. Not only musically, but as human beings.
After being ripped off for fifteen dollar parking, I made my way towards the Troubadour, looming in the distance. Whilst griping to myself, I hoped “damn, I hope I run into the guys tonight… that would make my night”. As if on cue I look up across the street, to see Zach and Nataly merrily making their way down the street. After the futile attempts to talk from across the busy Santa Monica Boulevard, we eventually meet up and head in.
I try to give Ryan a handshake, but he insists we bring it in for the real thing, and gives me a hug. It’s still staggering how laid back these guys are. Instead of hanging out in the band room above the main floor, they instead hang around and sign autographs, while sharing kind words about their opening band for the evening, Drug Rug.
Drug Rug is a band for lovers. Comprised of front woman Sarah, accompanied by Tommy, Julian and Dan, the bands roles were changed throughout the set. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a band so talented as to switch up the roles. In the live aspect, this is what will draw the crowd in; having jobs change on the fly.
For me, I got the feel-good feeling of a shoegaze daddy who had a lovechild with a southern belle while on tour, thus creating Drug Rug. Drawing from both their 2007 self titled release, and their latest 2009 album, Paint the Fence Invisible, I felt like I should have brought a pair of my cowboy boots to have a better stomping on the floor effect. But the crowd loved the energy so much; they took care of the stomping for me.
Thanks to Kenny, new front man of bone grinding metal band Halo of Gunfire being in attendance with the PTM crew, I was given a sticker to head upstairs to the VIP to finish out listening to the set. After a round of celebratory round of Kamikaze shots (thanks again Nat), we wormed down to stage right for a personal touch.
Ryan kicked it off with his keys to summon the rest of the band before our faces were melted off. I wish that I had stolen the setlist off the stage, but an aspiring fan really wanted it, and being the awesomely gracious person I am, I let him take it home.
The dedication of the fans are something to be admired, as throughout the night I heard people discussing what great lengths and how many failed attempts some had made to try and catch the band live. I’m sure at the next show I’ll hear those same stories echo, as last night’s show was a sold out one.
This set was much different than the Outside Lands set, with a more spread out approach (record wise) for its duration. AKA M80 the Wolf, caused a ruckus, with Zachs signature body drop-back-twist move throughout the chorus.
Of course Church Mouth reared its beautiful head with its title track. I prayed for Dawn, my favorite PTM song, but alas, maybe next time. The band had a lot of ground to cover, with an album being released every year since 2005. 1989 got the entire crowd singing with John, clad in his puffy vest with OG Spock flare to boot. Also getting the crowd singing along was People Say from their latest album, The Satanic Satanist (on my upcoming best albums of the year feature).I was more than happy however, to scream the chorus to Work All Day (third favorite song by the boys), after yelling “Portugal the guy!!” per Nataly’s request at the count of three.Towards the end of the set, we were treated to Do You (the latest video to which is badass), which felt right at home, making sci fi lovers happy.
The band later made their exit, with fans’ voices ablaze, which turned into the chanting of “POR-TU-GAL!! POR-TU-GAL!! POR-TU-GAL!!” Finally, Zach came back down to thank the crowd, his words being drowned out by their screams. The returned for a short encore, including Chicago, before bidding the crowd adieu.
This was an incredible show, with creative interludes between tracks, that would have The Mars Volta nod in approval. The stage presence always surprises me, as this band is for the most part, undefined. But it’s comforting to know the diverse (musically) crowd that I noticed while at the show.
The band took time afterword to sign memorabilia, and I offered to take a few pictures for the fans who want them. If you want the big versions, feel free to email me, and I’ll make it happen for you.
Well played gentlemen, and see you soon.
Until next time my friends,