On June 18 the indie psychedelic group known as Portugal. The Man came to Red Rocks as part of their tour promoting their latest album “Woodstock.”
The group is known best for their experimentation, power and their ability to change tone with every album they produce. One album can have a southern- blues feel, while the next provides the listener with an actual experience.
In terms of sound quality and showmanship, their live performance is very different. It is difficult to pair a visual element with some of their music, a component that has been a staple for the trippy group and their music videos. It is even harder to translate those visuals into a live performance. Their showmanship is still on-par with most pop groups that are rooted in the mainstream, but unfortunately the showmanship can’t be appreciated as much due to their sound.
The entire set was loud and bombastic like as most shows are expected to be, but there is such a thing as being too loud. For someone that loves their music, I found that I could barely hear the nuances that I love because of their sound. So while they played their hearts out and the passion could be clearly seen on the stage, it was overshadowed by the volume. It becomes harder to appreciate the music when you can only hear loud white noise.
The standout of the concert was the opening act from Local Natives. Their sound was far lower but this allowed the audience to enjoy all aspects of the group from the powerful harmonies, to the beautiful solos. There was even a point where lead singer Taylor Rice left the stage to sing with the audience that gave me the feeling that I was experiencing an authentic and beautiful concert from the counterculture movement.
This is not to say that the show from Portugal. The Man didn’t have spectacle.
It had provocative imagery and powerful solos from lead singer John Gourley and bassist Zach Carothers. Their final song lasted for about 12 minutes due to how passionately they were playing and because of how much the crowd wanted more.
So while the sound was subpar, the lights and the style in which the group played made me appreciate the music even more. I just needed to be able to control the volume on my iPod.