“It’s always weird on the first night of tour… I’m well-rested… I’m not hung over… It doesn’t seem right. One thing I know is I’ve been to Reno before several times. We will not be well-rested tomorrow. We will not be showered. We will be hung over. We’re Portugal The Man. Thanks for hanging out with us tonight.” Zach Carothers, in preface to the encore to their show at Grand Theatre at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino on Wednesday night. The band put on an electric show that impressed not only with their unique sound but a spectacle of visuals and lasers. They even had warnings in many forms before the show about the latter… and a pre-set disclaimer about their overall lack of banter. Coupled with a drumhead featuring Weird Al Yankovic, it was clear from the start that Portugal. The Man is a band that is driven by their own unique beat, and I don’t think that fans would want them any other way.
As I’ve mentioned in past reviews, The Grand Theatre at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno has become one of my favorite venues since their renovation back in 2015.
The site boasts a one acre large stage (one of the largest in the world) that from 1978 to 1987 was host to MGM’s “Hello Hollywood Hello”.
The entire venue has been redesigned, with a standing room-only GA floor space in front of the very wide and deep stage. The venue also features theater-style seating going up to the back of the venue. There is also new special VIP seating areas up higher on the far sides of the two walls.
In terms of sound, it was exceptional as I’ve come to expect, based on all of the concerts I’ve attended.
As with my past experiences, the staff at Grand Sierra Resort impress. I attend a lot of concerts, and the staff at the GSR are consistently very friendly and professional. I give the venue my highest recommendations!
Doors opened at around 7:00 for the 8:00 show start time.
As a funny aside, I live in California a few hours west of Reno, and after the show I got on the road and encountered the craziest snow storm about fifteen minutes after getting on the freeway – I literally couldn’t see even five feet past the front of my car. It was so intense, I turned around and headed back to Reno and got a room for the night to wait for the sun in the morning so I could find my way home safely. So having no computer or really anything apart from my phone and cameras, this threw off my schedule to get my photos and thoughts on this show published more timely.
- Clementine Creevy (vocals, guitar)
- Tabor Allen (drums)
- Devin O’Brien (bass)
Cherry Glazerr is an indie band from Los Angeles. This was my first exposure to their music, and I really loved their songs and sound. Overall, it definitely reminded me of the 90s (in a good way). They have a Throwing Muses/Breeders/Belly/Sonic Youth kind of vibe, and they come across as very authentic live on stage.
Since the show, I’ve circled back around to listen to their studio recordings, to see how it compared to the blazing live set, and there is definitely consistency between studio and live, much like with the Pixies.
I really liked that there is a cohesive style among the songs played live on stage, yet they all sound different and unique.
To date, they’ve released two studio albums (Haxel Princessin 2014 and Apocalipstick in 2017). Just this week they put out a new song and music video for “Juicy Socks”.
They are definitely worth checking out – great music and excellent live performers as well. I hope to see them again.
Below are some photos of Cherry Glazerr performing on stage (scroll downward and photos will begin to appear – click any image to open a virtual lightroom with higher resolution versions of each photo):
Portugal. The Man
- John Baldwin Gourley (vocals, guitar)
- Zach Carothers (bass guitar, backing vocals)
- Kyle O’Quin – (keyboards, synthesizers, guitar, backing vocals)
- Eric Howk – (guitar, backing vocals)
- Jason Sechrist – (drums)
Portugal. The Man formed in Wasilla, Alaska and now call Portland home, which kind of suits them if you’ve ever been to Portland…
The band has its origins in the early 2000s with a band called Anatomy of a Ghost… singer/guitarist John Gourley’s side project, Portugal. The Man also shared Zach Carothers on bass.
Among some line-up changes and after relocating to Portland, Portugal. The Man released their debut album, Waiter: “You Vultures!” in 2006, and their next three albums – Church Mouth in 2007, Censored Colorsin 2008 and The Satanic Satanistin 2008 – followed soon after.
Quite the prolific band, it’d been more and more new work on a steady schedule. They made big strides in honing their sound working with producer Danger Mouse on their 2013 album, Evil Friends.
In 2014, the band put the breaks on new releases and started working with Mike D from the Beastie Boys on their next planned album called Gloomin + Doomin, though it was abandoned after three years. Instead, Woodstock was released in 2017, with inspiration found in a ticket stub from Gourley’s dad from the famous ’60s music festival.
Portugal. The Man won a Grammy for “Feel It Still” this year for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
For me, the song that initially hooked me in was “Noise Pollution”, which I put in my Top Ten Songs of 2016 list in that year, and then I personally rated Woodstock as one of my Top Ten Albums of 2017. I’ve really grown to love the band’s music, and the more I listen to it, the more I covet it. They have such a unique sound and style and energy with the music that they are putting out.
Obviously, a lot of what has led them to the success that they find today is based on many, many years of hard work. Not just in the studio, but touring like crazy and I imagine seeing what the audience reacts to and taking that back to the studio.
But they definitely seem to be a group that has figured out a way to mix work and play, as their entire set at Grand Sierra Theatre the other night was framed by the idea of partying and having fun, and that comes through in their performance as well.
The mix of sound and visuals on Wednesday night was a perfect blend of eye and ear candy. With a massive screen behind them to serve as a canvas for the colorful light show to follow, the audience was greeted with a written message from the band before they ever took the stage:
We are not very good at stage banter, so tonight’s performance will feature some slogans written by our management. Thank you for your continued understanding.
I think it underscores the authentic nature of the band. They aren’t going to try to be something that they aren’t, and they are the first to laugh at themselves as well. Good company for a set that ran just short of an hour and a half.
It will definitely go down as one of my favorite shows of the year, and I look forward to seeing them again whenever I’m in the vicinity of one of their concerts.
- Unchained Melody (The Righteous Brothers)
- For Whom the Bell Tolls (Metallica cover)
- Purple Yellow Red and Blue [Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” Intro]
- Number One
- Live in the Moment
- Creep in a T-Shirt
- Children of the Revolution [T.Rex’s “Children of the Revolution” Outro]
- Atomic Man [The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” snippet]
- Modern Jesus
- All Your Light (Times Like These) [with snippets of A Kilo / The Home / I Want You (She’s So Heavy)]
- Feel It Still
- Sleep Forever [“Plastic Soldiers” and The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” snippets]
- Noise Pollution
- So Young
- Hip Hop Kids
- Holy Roller (Hallelujah)
Below are some photos of Portugal. The Man performing on stage (scroll downward and photos will begin to appear – click any image to open a virtual lightroom with higher resolution versions of each photo):