With his jacket zippered high and Ebbets Field hat slung low, John Gourley smiled as Portugal. The Man sauntered onto the Union Transfer stage. He smiled, a rye grin that hinted at an increased stage presence for this often introverted frontman, and noted, “this feels a little déjà vu, right?”
It was the second of back-to-back Philadelphia sold-out shows. Billed as “One night only, twice!” the idea was sound, proved by the thrusting limbs and curled lips with every song off Evil Friends. Folks been waiting for Portugal. The Man for 4 years, a worthy wait as the band is previewing songs off Gloomin + Doomin (set for a June release).
The power of a Portugal. The Man show is how the catchy pop edges of studio recordings are dismantled by frenetic stage performance and zealous audience reception. Rare was the time when Zack Carrothers stood still, his bass flailing dervish-like. Most often, Carrothers found his spiral cables stretched taut as he roamed back to the drum kit, illuminated by the front projection of abstract shapes and android figures for a backing screen.
Good support from HDBeenDope, opening and joining Portugal. The Man as “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” closed the main set. But it was the skeptical benediction of “Holy Roller” that propelled the sweating, thankful crowd into the night as a slight rain fell on Spring Garden St.