The lights are dim, the anxious crowd screaming and applauding, the curtains closed.
The TVs around the venue lit up with breathtaking imagery of glaciers and snowy mountains.
Portugal. The Man’s latest single “Got It All (This Can’t be Living Now)” begins to blare through the speakers, but it’s not them playing the music.
A 10-minute theatrical HD music video debuts before the band plays a note.
The video featured lead singer and guitarist John Gourley on some sort of “Into The Wild” adventure in Alaska.
Gourley, wrapped in a fur-hooded parka, is pulled through arctic tundra by a pack of sled dogs. And, without giving away the ending, finds himself on the ground, mouthing words to the song.
After the extended introduction, the four-piece started into a re-envisioned version of an old track from debut album “Waiter, You Vultures!”. Lights flashed as Gourley’s frenetic guitar noodling danced to distorted bass lines.
I’ve watched Portugal. The Man ascent to fame over the years, collecting each album and watching them live a handful of times.
Each performance is different than the last and Saturday was no different.
The Portland, Oregon by way of Wasilla, Alaska indie quartet group releases its sixth studio album “In The Mountain, In The Cloud” July 17 and used its sold-out House of Blues Anaheim audience as ears for many of the new tracks.
The group sprinkled a number of the new songs throughout the hour-and-a-half long performance that include a single song, but 10+ minute encore.
It was clear Portugal was on tour to generate steam for the upcoming release of “In The Mountain”.
Fans sang along to favorites from the popular (and more pop-sounding) album “The Satanic Satanist”, which helped but the band on the map and in 2010, secure a deal with Atlantic Records after two, two-record stints with Fearless and Equal Vision Records, respectively.
The band has progressed a lot since the falsetto vocals matched to drum machine beats and introspective guitar riffs. The sound has opened, Gourley’s voice has progressed — along with the backup singing — and the new stuff sounds wide open, soaring and even a bit grandiose. Somewhere between “Censored Colors” and “Satanist”.
You’ll have to listen to hear what I’m talking about:
Below, videos from the performance!