Sitting comfortably on a couch sipping a ginger ale, Zach Carothers, 29, appeared to be the most alert member of Portugal. The Man. Various members and crew laid around the room, taking the time to rest before the show started. Carothers lounged on the couch and discussed festival touring and inspirations for their latest album, “American Ghetto”.
Carothers plays bass guitar and provides backing vocals; lead singer John Gourley and Carothers make up the original two members of Portugal. The Man.
Portugal. The Man is an experimental alternative band that formed in 2004. Gourley began it with Carothers as a side project to his first band, Anatomy of a Ghost. When that project failed, Portugal. The Man emerged as their premier group. Hailing from Alaska, the band’s home-base is in Portland, Ore.
But with all their touring, home seems pretty far away. Of their tour in Europe, Carothers said he only had positive thoughts.
“We got to do the whole festival circuit there which was really fun,” Carothers said. “We did a bunch of really cool, little ones. Like some places smaller than Boulder will have a music fest and everyone in the town gets together and fills up a street.”
Portugal. The Man played a wide variety of shows in Europe, headlining most of the festivals. On Europe’s music tastes, Carothers said he found a greater diversity.
“A lot of people are just really open-minded to music over there,” he said. “Like someone can say ‘You guys are my favorite band and Limp Bizkit is my second favorite.’”
Like their fans, Portugal. The Man’s experimental sound transcends genres. Each of their albums contain a different sound and vibe, jumping from bluesy vocals, to bass-focused and heavy instrumentations.
Releasing “American Ghetto” less than a year after “The Satanic Satanist”, the lyrics and sounds took on a heavier, chiller sound.
“I don’t want to say [American Ghetto] was afterthoughts of Satanic Satanist,” Carothers said. “This was a way for John to get out the more eccentric, darker, hip-hoppy parts. When you’re in the studio and you’re constantly trying to think creatively, you come up with a lot of ideas and not all of them will work.”
The creativity of the new album shone through in their live show. Known for their interactive and powerful live shows, The Man delivered at their Friday show in Boulder. The show opened with a light show flashing red and blue, illuminating Gourley in a deeply-dark way.
But following the opener with “The Sun,” a crowd favorite, the show took on a lighter tone. If the first song was the death march, “The Sun” represented the rebirth as the rest of the show traced the journey of not only Gourley, but the band as a whole. The band played fan favorites like “People Say” and “The Home” but balanced with lesser-known songs from the breadth of their earlier albums.
The Man utilized a noteworthy strobe effect: flashing pictures of waves and other abstract images over the crowd. The strobe spun, making the audience feel as if they were underneath the waves. Effects like these added to the effectiveness of The Man’s performance; they care so much about the performance, the audience can’t help but to either.
When the show ended, there were no calls for an encore. But if anything, that shines well on the band, as there was nothing left to want; The Man had seemed to fulfill the audience’s desires.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Caitlin McCluskey at Caitlin.email@example.com.