Although they've just hit it big this past year, Portugal. The Man is no foreigner to our historic Red Rocks. Wednesday evening marked their 6th Red Rocks appearance since the bands formation in 2006, yet since their profoundly popular, global 2017 hit "Feel It Still" they've made their way into the mainstream radio wave, headlined major US festivals, received publishing deals in film and commericals and managed to snag their first Grammy. PTM made their return to Denver this week and brought back their indigenous roots, fan favorites, covers and new hits from 8th full length album, 'Woodstock.'
Before the bands arrival, PTM bassist Zach Carothers welcomed Native Lakota tribe leader and his two daughters to the stage. The group spoke about how we can preserve their native culture with daily kindness amongst one another and the rising female empowerment movement. As if we couldn't love PTM any feckin' more! The message resonated with the crowd and set the revolutionary mood as cheers erupted between the magical rocks that night.
PTM's 90 minute set kicked off in their customary fashion. A dark crowd swayed as "Unchained Melody" welcomed the group to the stage and blended into a jam sesh with "For Whom the Bell Tolls" as the foundation, melting into their 2013 hit "Purple Yellow Red and Blue." The show's projected backdrop resembled back to album art for 'Satanic Satanist' filled with their recognizable, featureless, colorful beings and quotes featuring radical leader Malcom X and even satire quotes from the band themselves. Lead singer John Gourley appeared as if he was donned the "King of the Wild Things" with his horned devil cap.
The 15 piece band dove into 'Woodstock' with album leading "Number One" followed by supported hit single off the new record, "Live In The Moment." Continuing with 'Evil Friends' favorites "Creep in a T-shirt" and "Atomic Man" with casual blends of riffs from "Children of the Revolution" (T. Rex) and "Gimme Shelter" (The Rolling Stones).
Smack in the middle of their set we were blessed with groovy, pop hit "Feel It Still" it couldn't be defined whether they chose the placement as a shock to the crowd or a message to the audience that their hit song doesn't define their long history and catalog as a band over the last 12 years. That message was reiterated ironically in cheeky t-shirts such as the popular "I liked Portugal. The Man before they sold out." Some fans attending that had clearly been supporters since the beginning and refuse to be identified as "bandwagon fans."
The last half of the set consisted of "Noise Pollution," crowd belting cherished hit "Modern Jesus" from 'Evil Friends,' an "All Your Light," "A Kilo," and "I Want You" fusion followed by more 'Evil Friends' favorites like "So American," "People Say," "Hip Hop Kids," and "Holy Roller."
The encore featured a Red Rocks sing-a-long happy birthday wish to the group's guitarist, Eric Howk and the fused melodies of "Sleep Forever", "Live and Let Die," "Plastic Soliders," "Smile," and "Hey Jude."