Portugal. The Man - The Observatory - October 27, 2013
Bassist Zach Carothers waited until halfway through Portugal. The Man's set at the Observatory on Sunday night to address the crowd, which was probably for the best - you don't want to start a show by giving a sold-out room a reason to doubt.
Fortunately, by the time Carothers spoke up, the band had long since won everyone over. After taking the stage to the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" (or as a girl nearby said, "Isn't this the song from Ghost?") PTM went on to crush the first half of their set. The Observatory show was the last stop on the band's tour, Carothers said, and they were headed home to rest and make new music.
PTM opened with "Purple Yellow Red and Blue," which I think is a reference to the across-the-hall rivalry of the Lakers and the Clippers. (Who would have thought a Portland-based band would be so into L.A. basketball? Get well soon, Kobe!)
Actually, the recent radio success of "Purple" capitalizes on a formula Portugal has been refining for nearly 10 years - breezy pop hooks led by John Gourley's falsetto and backed with a heavy rock stomp. The band slathered the song's goodwill all over the night, reprising "Purple" to close their set after a creepy-cool version of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (Pt.2)" that was heavy on Carother's bass and Kyle O'Quin's keyboards.
Other tracks from Evil Friends, the band's June release, were spread throughout the set, including "Modern Jesus," "Creep In A T-Shirt" and "Hip-Hop Kids," which Gourley said the band liked because "we get to swear a lot." PTM's visual effects rig was a show in itself, based around a white triangular backdrop that showed a never-ending mélange of static, champagne bubbles, glaciers, Egyptian pyramids in time-lapse, dripping, colorful goo and other projections friendly to hallucinogenics.