I can't imagine John Gurley — the often stage-frightened frontman of Portugal. The Man — knew what he was getting into headlining the Jägermeister Music Tour.
Strings of garden lights draped the stage in carnival fashion. Thirty-foot-tall LED screens showed Jäger bottles pulsating obnoxiously. Huge black banners with white writing screamed the liquor's name everywhere. As I enter, some guy named "Mr. Dee Jay" hypes the crowd like he's calling out girls at a strip club.
And I supposedly had just walked into a rock show.
PTM played on through the awkward setting with a stellar effort, but Gurley's soprano warbling drowned in the noise of distorted guitars and cymbals.
Regardless, they produced frenzied jams accompanied by spastic strobe light patterns in songs like "All Your Light." They pulled out the bombastic tune "Chicago," featuring a driving downbeat and the hook line, "We say burn the fucker down!"
Rock met doo-wop briefly during "Lay Me Back Down," though it was the only time Gurley's voice came through clearly all night. The slinky drama of "Sleep Forever" gave way to the sing-along ending of the Beatles' "Hey Jude" to send us off.
All in all, I can't wait to see PTM again, ideally, with improved sound and without booty-bar liquor advertising.
Concert: Portugal. The Man
Date: May 5