Portugal. The Man Brings Energy to Santa Barbara Bowl

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Eileen Taing
Staff Writer

Portugal. The Man put on a star-studded performance, featuring powerful vocals and lively animations, on Saturday April 21 at the Santa Barbara Bowl. They kept the crowd standing up from the moment the lights first turned off to the end when they flashed back on. However, the concert would have been even more spectacular if the band interacted with the audience more.

Most of the venue was filled with an audience consisting of a variety of people, from young children (brought by their families) to college and middle-age people.

Throughout the entire show, incredible animations were projected on the screen. Immense colors and images such as a spinning cube, cartoon people, skulls, and different moving patterns drew the audience’s attention from the rainbow strobe lights.

Sometimes words were presented on the screen. These words were used in a sense as a medium to talk to the audience. A few examples of these words were, “How do you like smokin’ weed?” “John would like to join you guys but he actually went straight edge.”

During the concert, they played “Modern Jesus” which is from their album, Evil Friends. This album has increased their audience size since their debut album, Waiter: You Vultures, which was released in 2006. As of now, Portugal. The Man has done seven albums and has gained more popularity. Although it was not until fairly recently when their song, “Feel It Still,” made Billboard charts.

Three quarters of the way through, Portugal. The Man played one of their most popular songs, “Feel It Still,” from their recent album, Woodstock. Woodstock is their seventh studio album since their debut in 2004. The band currently consists of lead singer John Gourley, backup vocalist Zachary Carothers, Kyle O’Quin, Eric Howk, Jason Sechrist and Zoe Manville.

The band members, Kyle O’Quin and Jason Sechrist did not move as much as John Gourley and Zachary Carothers. This is probably due to the fact that they were playing the keyboard and drums, respectively. Zoe Manville, who also participates in vocals, did not perform particularly vigorously either. She stood towards the back of the stage, stood up at the microphone to sing, and failed to use the space around her like Gourley and Carothers.

Unfortunately, Portugal. The Man’s band members rarely interacted with the audience. After they played their first few songs, Gourley asked how everyone was doing and commented on how Santa Barbara is such as beautiful place. Then, towards the end they had a brief break and said they would play a couple more songs. That was the extent of Portugal. The Man’s direct engagement with the crowd.

However, the band’s performance skills spoke for themselves; Portugal. The Man projected energy that transferred to the audience. Most of the audience in the middle and back sections were standing up from their seats and moving to the beat of the music.

The energy increased even more when they started to play the song “Modern Jesus.” During this song, even more people stood up and started moving their arms in the air. When the song “Purple Yellow Red & Blue” played, parts of the audience sang along.

Overall, Portugal. The Man led a powerful performance that created tremendous and infectious energy that had concertgoers up on their feet. They ended the show as abruptly as it began: once they finished their final song, the entire stage went black. When the lights came back on, Portugal. The Man had left the stage.

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