Portugal. The Man Brings Light Shows And Unchained Memories To NYC


“Oh man this is just the best place to play shows,” Portugal. The Man’s bassist Zach Carothers told VIBE before taking to stage for a raging NYC show at Irving Plaza.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to listen to the beauty that is ‘Portugal. The Man’ (that’s right, their presence demands a period), then now is perfect time to get down to it. The band’s diverse and unique sound is any music lover’s dream, covering an array of genres and styles, and New York audiences had the pleasure of listening to the group perform live as they graced the stages of Irving Plaza last Monday.

Ticket holders waited in anticipation as minutes passed after the band was scheduled to perform when out of nowhere the theme song from the movie ‘Ghost’ started to fill the theater’s speaker system. Community uproar commenced as the screen covering the stage lifted up and a fog developed from the smoke machines. A strong smell of cannabus filled the air and energy levels rose as the final scores of “Unchained Melodies” played out, and Portugal. The Man members came out from the smoky haze.

The band’s founders John Gourley (lead vocals/guitar) and Zach Carothers (bass) position themselves in the forefront while remaining members – Noah Gersh (guitar), Kyle O’Quinn (keyboards), Kane Ritchotte (drums) – followed behind. Immediately they open up with their latest track “Purple Yellow Red & Blue”, sending the crowds into frenzy while neon-colored strobe lights spewed forth from the stage.

“Every time we come here its like the biggest show we ever played,” Carothers told VIBE. “We never thought we would be able to do any of this stuff so the fact that we’re playing at a place like Irving Plaza is pretty fucking crazy.”

The entire duration performance was like a trip through various times and components of music, with Portugal playing out seven years of experience and material, covering everything from indie rock to punk to…well as we said, everything – even hip-hop. There was also the pleasant surprise where they would play well-recognized rock classics in their jam sessions, including snippets of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So”, and the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and “Helter Skelter”.

After over an hour of playing songs from their past, present and future, Portugal. The Man honored fans with an encore jam session performance. Members (and even the backup singers) danced together, showing audience members the group’s true knowledge and appreciation of music.

Catch Portugal. The Man as they hit your local concert hall during their U.S. tour, and be on the lookout for VIBE’s review of their new album, Evil Friends, dropping June 4 via Atlantic Records.