Wednesday night at the House of Blues down on Decatur proved to be an exhilarating hump day, aptly named, for the gyrations compelled by Portugal. The Man’s riveting performance were pumping in droves. That is, whatever space we could manage to claim in the slam-packed musical cathedral, we filled it with commotion of our sweaty bods in a showing of appreciation for the tightly knit blankets of sound bliss ceaselessly coming our way.
I can’t exactly come up with an exhaustive list, but there are probably few situations cooler for stage entry than approaching the eager crowd to the soul-scoping culmination of The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.” The result was colossal, as cheers upon cheers bellowed throughout the venue while PTM let the house music submerge itself into silence before kicking the set off with “Purple Yellow Red and Blue,” a rabidly sweet tune off their latest album, Evil Friends (a Danger Mouse production). Green lasers donned a white mountainous backdrop, tossing silhouettes of instrument-masters across the outline of the stage while the music soared through the air with amplitude fit for the gods. (A note about the backdrop: this simplistic triangular cutout idea was extremely impressive in portraying a plethora of psychedelic goodies throughout the night, from Yellow Submarine-esque cartoons to various geometric visual entrapments – mucho kudos on that, ye wise band).
Considering the steady play of Beatles covers playing over the house before the gig began, I had a hunch that a cover was in store for us, and surely enough, PTM shelled out bits and pieces of three different Beatles hits, including “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Hey Jude,” and “Helter Skelter,” each one serving as an interlude of sorts within PTM’s originals. Oh, and I certainly shouldn’t forget the tantalizing rendition of “Day Man” from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a beautifully melodic payment of homage to one of our generation’s finest sitcoms. These integrations of cultural inspiration were implemented into the show with perfection, which was another hugely impressive part of the band’s presentation. Specifically, their seamless transitions from original to cover to original exemplified a precise tightness which suggested that the band might’ve been rehearsing comfortably in a sock. To put it plainly, the band nailed every song they played, thus energizing the flesh and soul of the tireless audience from beginning to end.
Lastly, I’d like to express a common sense of gratitude towards the band’s successful effort in making up for what happened at the House of Blues last year (drummer was fired mid-set, lots of confusion, ultimately resulting in a quiet, yet still entertaining, three-piece set). After taking a few personal snap shots of the crowd just before the encore, bassist Zachary Carothers gave a sincere apology for the debacle with the drummer, telling the crowd how much they enjoyed New Orleans and how appreciative they were for our continued support. This was answered with swarms of thunderous love, and, in fitting fashion for a city of much drink, a band mate shoved a liter of whiskey into Carothers’ mouth just before they finished the night off with an explosion of sound coated in crimson madness.
Ultimately, this nearly two-hour set was arguably the best show I’ve seen in 2013, jammed with auditory and visual journey-pieces that took control of our brains and propelled us into some tasty, mystical river of energy.