KEXP @ CMJ 2011, Day 1: Portugal. The Man

photos by Brittney Bush Bollay

Over the course of the past five years, Alaskan indie rockers Portugal. The Man have been one of the most prolific bands in the country, releasing a full-length album a year since 2006 and backing it up with a seemingly incessant touring schedule. Once known as heavy, electrified and psychedelic, the band’s recent albums have been comprised of softer, more affecting acoustically-minded songs. Led by dynamic front man John Gourley and his otherworldly voice, Portugal. The Man always put on an amazing live show, largely due to the fact that the band is so tight from touring so often. In addition to their KEXP set at the Ace Hotel, presented by Toyota Free Yr Radio, Portugal. The Man will also be playing Thursday, October 20 at Terminal 5.

John Gourley was wearing a red, white, and blue beanie over a short hair cut and Portugal. The Man was sporting an additional guitarist for their 2:30 pm set in the lobby of the Ace, which was as crowded as it had been all day. They led off the set with “So American” from their 2011 release In The Mountain In The Cloud, and continued to play a set of assorted favorites from their last few releases including “And I,” “Got It All,” “Do You,” and “People Say.” Only the bass was electrified, however, so songs like “And I” lost some of their punch, and the band wasn’t able to let loose and jam even in the slightest. Despite the lack of electric guitars, a broken string by Gourley, and a general lack of energy for most of the set, Portugal. The Man put on a pleasing acoustic performance that suited the intimate atmosphere in the hotel’s lobby well.

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