Wednesday night well spent with Portugal. The Man at First Ave


Portugal. The Man brought their Spring 2017 tour to Minneapolis last night to a nearly sold out First Ave Mainroom. It might have been a Wednesday night, but Portugal, The Man fans turned up in droves for a night of great music. I first saw Portugal. The Man back at Shaun White’s Air + Style Festival in Los Angeles, so I was looking forward to seeing them again here in Minneapolis. Portugal. The Man is known for their heavy visuals and psychedelic-esque sets and last night did not disappoint. As I made my into First Ave they had signs clearly indicating “STROBE LIGHTS will be used in tonight’s performance.”

Portugal. The Man brought along Brooklyn-based rapper HDBeenDope to warm up the stage. At first glance, this might be an unexpected opener for Portugal. The Man considering the schism in genres. But fans of deep cuts know that Portugal. The Man has worked with fellow indie-rapper (if we can use that grossly generic term), Danny Brown. As a band, Portugal. The Man blends elements from across genres and scenes, never shying away from the unexpected and with that in mind, HDBeenDope actually made for the perfect opener last night.

The Minneapolis crowd seemed a little unsure what to make of HDBeenDope at the beginning of his set with his tight raps complete with live drums and turntables. But by the end he had the crowd turned into fans. I was absolutely blown away by HDBeenDope’s showmanship and energy on stage. He definitely carried himself with an effortless confidence, seemingly acutely aware of his talent. He started playing into the energy from the crowd and some of the fans in the front row. HDBeenDope engaged with the crowd and at one point even called out the crowd for being boring. Minneapolis crowds are notoriously stoic ( it’s those German/Northern European, Lutheran roots ), especially when it’s a band you can tell they aren’t familiar in the Twin Cities, but HDBeenDope wasn’t having any of it. It was fun to see HDBeenDope push the “too cool for school” crowd out of their comfort zone last night.

Portugal. The Man took to the stage around 9:30 pm to a hyped-up crowd (thanks to HDBeenDope). Psychedelic, trippy images flooded the stage as the band took to the stage. Lead singer John Gourley grabbed the mic and launched into what would be an entirely electric set. They kicked off their set with “Church Mouth” off their second studio album. Portugal. The Man, has an extensive discography, but you could tell some of the OG fans were stoked to hear some of the older tracks. Zachary Carothers held things down on bass, with Kyle O’Quin on keys and Jason Sechrist on drums and Eric Howk on guitars and vocals. Each of these guys is extremely talented in their own right, and seeing them play together is such a cohesive experience. Portugal. The Man continues to expand their reach as they rise in popularity and last night was a reminder why they’ve been so successful in recent years. The guys can jam, at one point in their set they just had a ten minute jam session. Carothers is probably one of the best bassists in music right now. Portugal. The Man nailed their set with ease and aplomb.

Highlights from their set included the anthemic “Modern Jesus,” the earworm “Noise Pollution,” and their newest single “Feel It Still.” I felt like I fell in love with this band all over again last night and will be anxiously awaiting their eighth album.