By: Sun Noor
After releasing their Grammy-winning eighth studio album Woodstock last year, the Portland-based alternative rock band Portugal the Man played to a sold-out crowd last night at MTelus. The band’s last performance in Montreal was back in 2016 when they shared the stage with Cage the Elephant. A lot has happened to the band over the past year with the release of their critically acclaimed record. Since their previous release, Portugal the man has embarked on one of the most highly anticipated tours of they year, selling out the majority if not all of their dates in such a short amount of time.
The concept of Woodstock came in place once the band’s frontman John Gourley found an old ticket stub to Woodstock Festival which belonged to his father during a recent trip to his hometown in Alaska. The band’s admiration for the politically influenced music of the 1960s inspired them to shed light upon the current political climate and the current issues of the world. Songs such as “Number One” which includes a sample of Richie Haven’s “Freedom,” “Noise Pollution” and”Mr Lonely” reflect upon the many of the struggled faced by people in this current climate. Woodstock is incredibly layered and has depth, experimental music at its finest. There are plenty of heavily produced, psychedelic pop songs including their number one single, “Feel it Still” and a few laid back, soulful tracks like “So Young” which alludes to Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” The record still flows together nicely despite its various directions.
The Chicago-based garage rock band Twin Peaks supported Portugal the man on the North American leg of this tour. The band released a compilation album entitled “Sweet ’17 Singles” and played the majority of those songs for the jam packed venue.
Portugal the Man are undoubtedly a great live act. It was as though simply delivering an incredible performance was not enough for the four-piece. As soon as they took the stage, fans were exposed to a great deal of flashy lighting, smoke an a backdrop that displayed various comical messages throughout the night. The band also opened their set with a cover of Metallica’s and played a few verses of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall Part II” before making the transition to “Yellow, Purple, Blue and Green.” The setlist mainly consisted of songs off Woodstock as well as a few of their classics. Getting to hear some of the new tunes that I have been loving over the past couple of months live was also such a great experience.
Catch Portugal the Man at this year’s edition of Osheaga and click here to purchase tickets to any of their upcoming shows.