Continuing Austin City Limit’s efforts to showcase the best in indie rock, we were happy to host the ACL debut of Portugal. The Man. The Portland quintet put a fresh coat of paint on the house of indie, with a blend of new wave, psychedelia, alternative pop and anything else that came to their attention. “I love the blending of psychedelic, synths, and guitars,” declared Scott Wright on YouTube during the livestream of tonight’s taping. “It’s just perfect.”
Unsurprisingly, the band drew heavily from its most recent work, particularly In the Mountain In the Clouds and its acclaimed Danger Mouse-produced LP Evil Friends. The funk-infused “All Your Light (Times Like These)” kicked things off by seguing its synth-pop into burly rock, working itself into an almost progressive rock epic. “The Sun” and “Sea of Air” incorporated a subtle Beatles feel, updating classic 60s psych pop for a new generation. The back-to-back pairing of “Modern Jesus” and “Hip Hop Kids” created a sugary rush moderated by Gourley’s clever, sardonic lyrics. In another callback to the classics, Portugal. The Man started its set-ender “Purple, Yellow, Red & Blue” with the first verse and chorus of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2,” a mashup that worked wonderfully due to the similarity between the rhythm guitar parts. One of the biggest surprises was “Dayman,” taken from the TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, used as the middle portion in a mini-suite that began with Evil Friends’ title track and ended with the widescreen coda of “So American.” “I love how they mashup their own songs during live performances,” commented qwertyqwerty1230 from YouTube. “It makes each show unique.”
The band encored with the fan favorite “Sleep Forever,” sending the audience out with a lighter-waving classic rock anthem. It was a fitting end to a glorious set. We can’t wait for you to see it early next year – watch this space for broadcast details.