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Review: Portugal. The Man lights up McDonald Theatre in first performance since winning Grammy

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Guitarist and lead singer John Gourley. Portugal. The Man sells out McDonald Theatre in Eugene, Ore. on Feb. 1, 2018. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

Portugal. The Man lit-up the sold-out McDonald Theatre Thursday night for the group’s first stop on its 2018 winter tour in support of its most recent record, “Woodstock.” It was also the band’s first performance since winning a Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. 

The Portland-based indie rockers took the stage just after 10 p.m., shortly after Canadian indie-rock group Hollerado finished its opening set. Portugal took the stage and started a jam session that quickly led into the group’s cover of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall” — perhaps a nod to Eugene’s large population of college students. Either way, audience members of all ages joined the band in chanting, “Teachers, leave those kids alone!”

After riding the cover out for a few verses, the band decided to work its way into its own material, seamlessly transitioning into the upbeat “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.” Before moving into some of its older hits, the band performed a few of its most popular songs such as “Modern Jesus,” “Live In The Moment” and “Feel It Still.”

While much of Portugal. The Man’s recorded material is upbeat and poppy, the band’s live performance took on a different life entirely. The band featured a heavy dose of distorted rock accompanied by flashing strobes and rotating lights in the dimly-lit room.  

Bassist Zachary Scott Carothers. Portugal. The Man sells out McDonald Theatre in Eugene, Ore. on Feb. 1, 2018. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

Throughout the show, psychedelic projections of distorted human forms and blobs of moving color were shown on a large screen behind the band. Occasionally, the projector would feature a few words from Portugal. The Man, including the opening credits in which the band admitted to having poor stage banter and that the projector would replace that aspect of the show. Later, the projector checked to make sure everyone in the audience was doing alright and asked if anyone was “smoking some weed?” 

The night reached its peak when the band decided to interlude “The Nightman Cometh” from FX’s hit-series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” — a crass comedy popular among college-aged viewers. Audience members immediately joined the band in chanting “Dayman, fighter of the Nightman, champion of the sun, you’re a Master of Karate and friendship for everyone” as soon as they realized what the band was doing. 

Many students and Eugene community members who were in attendance had work or school the following day, but it didn’t affect the loud, lively atmosphere at the McDonald Theatre for Portugal. The Man made it clear that this week, the weekend started on a Thursday.





















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