Indie Rockers Portugal.The Man Bring Heavy Psychedelia and a Trippy Light Show to Public Hall

click to enlarge Indie Rockers Portugal.The Man Bring Heavy Psychedelia and a Trippy Light Show to Public Hall
Photo by Jeff Niesel
Originally, indie rockers Portugal.The Man were supposed to play the Agora Theater. But since renovations to the Agora weren't completed by the time of last night's concert, the show moved to Music Hall.

And then, since Music Hall had some production issues, the show wound up in the cavernous Public Hall where the band played to about 3,000 fans that filled the floor and one section of the stands.

It's a testament to the band's ability to command the stage that the group had no trouble delivering a compelling performance in such a huge space — having a killer light show certainly helped.

You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here.

The group appropriately began the 90-minute set with a cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall." The classic prog rock band has clearly influenced Portugal.The Man, and its spacey rendition of the song did the original tune justice.

The group kept the energy live as a funky guitar riff propelled "Purple Yellow Red and Blue," and a beefy organ riff kicked off "Number One." The lasers that flickered across the auditorium as the band played the tune made it appear as if clouds were hovering above the audience and nicely complemented the song.

Percolating synthesizers distinguished the synth-heavy "Modern Jesus" and the band cranked up the lasers again for "Live in the Moment." Mid-set, the group delivered "Feel It Still," the monster hit from its latest album, Woodstock. The thick bass riff and brittle guitar lead made the song really shimmer.

The concert's second half continued to build momentum as the band punctuated "Noise Pollution" with scattershot call-and-response vocals and then channeled David Bowie on the resplendent "So American," a song that was accompanied by trippy images of splattered paint.

After a false start, the band got it together for "Sleep Forever," a tune that concluded with a vigorous rendition of "Hey Jude." Before beginning a two-song encore, the band acknowledged its love for Cleveland by recalling the days when it used to play the Grog Shop.

Even though it couldn't fill Public Hall and even though the venue's echoing acoustics distorted the music, the band capably showed that it has successfully graduated to bigger rooms.

The Chicago-based indie rock band Twin Peaks opened with a 45-minute set that alternated between Pavement-inspired indie rock and Grateful Dead-like jams. Their song-ending jams regularly showed off their chops (particularly those of multi-instrumentalist Colin Croom who easily shifted from keyboards to guitar), but the lack of memorable choruses or hooks ultimately made the performance rather forgettable.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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