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Portugal. The Man: The best band you’re not listening to

Portugal. The Man

Chances are you’ve heard of Wasilla, Alaska. You know it as the home of snow machines and as a place where a certain former Republican vice presidential candidate can see Russia from her doorstep. That’s probably just about all anyone knows about this arctic town tucked far, far away from the rest of the continental United States.

What you likely don’t know about Wasilla is that it’s home to one of the most exciting live bands making music today. A band with a name as obscure as its hometown used to be prior to the 2008 presidential elections. That band is Portugal. The Man and they put on a mini rock spectacle at the Crocodile April 16 filled with smoke machines, fancy lights and loud guitars coupled with intense rhythms.

If you take the spazz out of the Mars Volta and the art out of … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead you’ve got Portugal. The Man, the best band you’re not listening to. Their songs are not overwhelmed by too many grandiose, proggy jams and they aren’t filled with ambitious concepts or massive artistic statements. Portugal. The Man’s music just flat out rocks.

Led by John Gourley, a small man in stature who plays a big guitar (see above photo for evidence), the band blazed through a 90-minute set that was heavy on material from its best record “Church Mouth.” The set kicked off with the title track from that record with the band seamlessly folding “One Is The Loneliest Number” into its tail end. From there it was all business as these rugged-looking Alaskans proceeded to give the new Crocodile its first real rock show.

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