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Still feeling it with Portugal. The Man at Ritz Raleigh

Still feeling it with Portugal. The Man at Ritz Raleigh

Thursday’s show with Portugal. The Man was already looking to be epic with a sold out concert at Ritz Raleigh. I made sure to get there early so I could catch openers Maybird and Lido and I still only managed to catch the end of first act Maybird’s set.

The band Maybird has been having great fortune the past couple of years. Originally hailing from Upstate NY, last year the band was signed to Danger Mouse’s label, 30th Century Records, with other artists like Babe Rainbow and Apache Sun. This year they’ve been touring with Portugal. The Man, and labelmates Babe Rainbow. Their music transports you to the 60s with a strong psychedelic rock sound. Pairing it with their unique and stylized visuals (check out their YouTube page) after the fact was even better.

Luckily I made it in time to see Norwegian artist Lido. His own description of himself is the best way I could ever imagine to describe what it is this man does: “I fuck with people’s shit for a living.” He is a one man band, singing and remixing his favorites and yours in a way that’s a perfect mashup of his own individual flavor and the artist’s original idea. It’s a funky fusion of electronica, pop, and hip hop that is too damn good. His song “Dye” is literally just an ode his lover to never change herself or her hair but between his vocals and the exquisite instrumentation Lido uses, it becomes way more than just a simple love song. He makes me miss artists like Prince that would play several instruments, making every track a symphony of their talent.

During his set he remarked on how a friend dared him to remix an album and instead he one-upped him by remixing an entire album in ONE song. This is how the beauty that is “Life of Peter” was born, his remix of Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo.” I was done in once I heard his operatic version of the infamous Young Metro intro. Lido jumps back and forth between his keyboard and drums, offering up a little smile when the beat hits especially hard or he gets in a groove. His dedication to Teddy Riley New Jack Swing is the track “Not Enough.” This song I actually prefer live. It features the group THEY and perfectly embodies that early 90s feel. Totally getting me all nostalgic for oversized polka dot dress shirts and skinny singers with very little muscle tone. (Side note: the artwork for his album is dooope!)

After a quick intermission Unchained Melody started playing, the light show began, and the crowd was ready for the final act of the night. If you like a side of lasers and graphics with your rock then Portugal The Man is where it’s at. Let me start off with this statement though: I love a man singing in falsetto. I’d interrupt your wedding, baby shower, and funeral all in the same day over a man singing falsetto. It’s that serious to me.

So when Portugal. The Man hit the stage and lead singer John Gourley started singing, I almost threw my shoe at him in a grandiose statement of love. Unfortunately for me the sound wasn’t cooperating with the band so the first few songs were overshadowed by mic squeals and reverb. Even worse, their drummer was MIA for a wonderful reason: the birth of his child. Bass guitarist Zachary Carothers made light of the situation, congratulating his fellow band member and telling the crowd there was no way they could cancel a sold out show so they would carry on best they could. Keyboardist Kyle O’Quin filled in instead and Maybird were on stage as well, tambourines in hand to help out which was downright heartwarming to witness. Thankfully the sound was working by the time they began to play “Feel It Still,” the song that has arguably put them on the mainstream map.

I loved the jazzy tempo and the fact that I could pick up the samples from the Marvelette’s “Mr. Postman” made me that much happier. You can easily how the track has made it to crossover status for the band. It perfectly fit the running theme of this tour, artists taking a song and dutifully making it their own, without completely losing the essence of the original.

The crowd favorite of the night was “Evil Friends” hands down, everyone pretty much screaming the lyrics once the song started. I love the lyrics to this song. It’s hard not to get amped when he sings “No stars got nothing on me – Your sun’s got nothing on me.” That and hearing “Hip Hop Kids” (I love the vocal riffs in it) and “Modern Jesus” were my personal high points of the night. Considering that Portugal. The Man were facing all sorts of handicaps that night it seemed, they not only gave a great performance but were full of positive energy during the show. No cursing out the sound guy or whining, just good vibes and good music. I’m still feeling it.

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