Portugal. The Man Talks New Album at Intimate L.A. Show: 'This Is Like Future Punk Show New Wave'
Portugal. The Man rolled into Los Angeles Friday night (Oct. 11) to perform a special show at the Troubadour. The concert was part of the Hilton Honors Concert Series in partnership with Live Nation -- exclusively for Hilton Honors members who redeemed their points to gain entry.
The evening commenced with appetizers and beverages while guests donning VIP laminates mingled throughout the room. Shortly after 9 p.m., the band took the stage to an animated intro by Beavis and Butthead, who playfully deemed them “better than any band... even Silverchair.” This was followed by a progressive rock metal jam that morphed into a psychedelic version of "Another Brick in the Wall" and “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.” As the six-piece transitioned through their 11-song set, fans sang along to tracks like “Live in the Moment” and “Modern Jesus.”
At one point in the evening, the words “Real bands don’t need singers” appeared on a screen behind the band, as lead vocalist John Gourley left the stage, allowing his bandmates to hop into an improvisational jam. After sufficient applause, the text changed to “Whoever said we were a real band,” which elicited a roar of laughter from the crowd, as the singer made his triumphant return to continue on the evening with “All Your Light” and “Holy Roller.” And then, of course, nearly all the phones in the crowd of 350 went up in the air to proudly video the band’s live rendition of their hit single “Feel it Still.”
Prior to taking the stage, Billboard caught up with bassist Zach Carothers and guitarist Eric Howk who raved about how exciting it was to be back at the famed West Hollywood venue.
“I don't know how many times I've played here but it’s been a while and it really brings us back!” Carothers proclaimed, noting that the band’s first Troubadour show in 2006-2007 was really instrumental in helping to foster their mainstream success -- that and “Feel it Still” -- “that one song,” as Carothers playfully referred to it.
It’s been two years since the band released its 2017 album, Woodstock, on which the Billboard Hot 100 track was featured as the lead single, and Portugal. The Man is ready to put out what’s next.
“We have been recording a lot,” explained Carothers, revealing that they have a good 30 to 40 tracks in the can that they are very excited to get out. He also revealed that they’ve been working with producer Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Fun, Mark Ronson) and may have some other noteworthy guest spots up their sleeves.
“We’ve had lots of friends that are randomly popping into the studio. I'll save some of them as surprises,” Carothers said.
And while they admit to feeling “slight pressure” to recreate the magic of “Feel it Still,” Carothers deemed the track a one time magical occurrence, adding that the goal is not to try and replicate it with an equally as powerful radio hit. “It was so huge that we literally couldn't do that again if we tried it. Nobody could!” Carothers said. “I think if the they got the most attractive person with the most talent, the best producers, best song writers, $10 million, you still couldn’t do that,” he said, with a grin.
In terms of the vibe, expect this one to be different than the album’s precursor.
“This is like future punk show new wave. I don't even know man. It's some wild shit,” revealed Carothers. And Howk said that while the band has been giving themselves time to tour the world in support of their later in life success -- “Album eight, some 100 odd songs later, it was like, ‘let’s give these, middle-aged Alaskans a little time on the pop charts,’” he joked. The new disc will make its debut in 2020. “We’re as antsy to get it out as anyone is to hear it,” he proclaimed.
Friday’s show was the last the band will play until their back-to-back nights to close out the year on Dec. 30-31 at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif. But before that, they have big plans: finishing up the album, heading back to Alaska for some R&R and partying with Carother’s grandmother.
“My grandma's turning 95. She's a sweet lady and so I'm going to go home and go party with grandma,” he revealed.
Previous Hilton Honors concerts this year have included Walk the Moon, Jake Owen, Jessie J, and Brett Young. Fitz and The Tantrums will round out the 2019 series at the brand new Conrad in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 8.
See Portugal. The Man's full set list below.
"Purple Yellow Red and Blue"
"Live in the Moment"
"Creep in a T-Shirt"
"All Your Light"
"Feel it Still"