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Portugal. The Man puts on ’60s-inspired show in Providence

John+Gourley%2C+Portugal.+The+Man%27s+lead+singer+and+guitarist%2C+sings+a+song+from+the+band%27s+latest+album%2C+%22Woodstock.%22+%2F+Photo+by+Riley+Robinson
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Portugal. The Man puts on ’60s-inspired show in Providence

John Gourley, Portugal. The Man's lead singer and guitarist, sings a song from the band's latest album,

John Gourley, Portugal. The Man's lead singer and guitarist, sings a song from the band's latest album, "Woodstock." / Photo by Riley Robinson

John Gourley, Portugal. The Man's lead singer and guitarist, sings a song from the band's latest album, "Woodstock." / Photo by Riley Robinson

John Gourley, Portugal. The Man's lead singer and guitarist, sings a song from the band's latest album, "Woodstock." / Photo by Riley Robinson

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Photos and review by Riley Robinson

Portugal. The Man’s performance in Providence Thursday was an ode to the garage band before GarageBand.

Portugal. The Man, or PTM, is best-known for their platinum track “Feel It Still,” a head-bopping alt-rock crossover. The song won the group their first Grammy this year. It sounded grungier live than on the album — lead singer John Gourley mostly skipped the falsetto. Maybe it was The Strand’s sound mixing, but I felt the bass pulse in the bottom of my throat.

“Feel it Still” comes from the group’s latest album “Woodstock,” which took them more than three years to complete.

Woodstock’s psychedelic 1960s influence carried over to the stage design for this tour. The entire show was lit by a vibrant projector that displayed rainbow acid print and occasional profanity. Toward the end of the show, the backdrop read in all caps: “We don’t like to talk politics but this needs to be said: [expletive].” It fit the tone: A real 1960s vibe needs a hit of irreverence.

The album “Woodstock” evolved from stories Gourley’s father told him about  attending the famed music festival in 1969. Gourley connected with the sense of political upheaval during that decade. The band’s website explains Gourley “realized that, in the same tradition of bands from that era, Portugal. The Man needed to speak out about the world crumbling around them.”

At the show, PTM relied solely on the music to connect with the audience. As the first chords began, the projector displayed: “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. PTM.”

Whether or not they actually first played in garages, Portugal. The Man grew from the kind of high-school music making portrayed in teen movies. Gourley and bass guitarist Zach Carothers began collaborating while in high school in Wasilla, Alaska. They’ve kept at it continuously since 2006, putting out almost an album a year until they began work on Woodstock.

Twin Peaks, another all-male rock band, opened for PTM and shared similar high-school roots. If one were to close their eyes and imagine the quintessential rebellious garage band, Twin Peaks embodies the vision: shaggy hair, flannel shirts, swigging out of beer cans during their entire set. The frequency of hair flipping increased with each emptied Miller Lite.

Twin Peak’s best feature was their evident joy for what they do. They drank, they danced and they seemed to enjoy each other’s company onstage. They seemed like Neverland’s Lost Boys in the best way: out of the garage, but not necessarily adult.

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Portugal. The Man puts on ’60s-inspired show in Providence