Pairing Grouplove and Portugal. The Man on the same concert bill is a pop-music fan’s dream come true, and both rising acts certainly delivered on that promise in front of a capacity crowd over the weekend at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre.
With indie darlings Tokyo Police Club opening up the Honda Civic Tour show, Portugal. The Man came out just as the scorching August heat waned, a perfect setting for the Alaska-bred band’s psychedelic sounds.
Bathed in smoky pink and purple lights, Portugal. The Man opened with a choice cover, a head-nodding version of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2.” That seamlessly morphed into one of their latest singles, “Purple Yellow Red and Blue,” which carried Floyd’s sinister schoolyard rebellion vibe throughout.
Frontman John Gourley’s mesmerizing falsetto continued with PTM’s “All Your Light (Times Like These)” from their 2011 album, In the Mountain In the Cloud, and “Hip Hop Kids,” which comes off 2013’s Evil Friends.
Portugal. The Man still had a few surprises in store post-Pink Floyd, taking a shot at “Dayman” – the song written by Charlie Day in the FX sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – before going into their own joyous track “So American.” And, who would have thought they would close with a heart-wrenching cover of Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”
In all, Portugal. The Man’s set was magically dark and menacing, sprinkled with thunderous basslines, fuzzy distortion and booming plunks on the piano. And following a quick intermission, Grouplove delivered a shot of fluorescent sunshine.
The five-member collective immediately got the audience moving with the frenetic energy of “I’m With You” and never let off the gas pedal.
Hannah Hooper, looking resplendent in a black butterfly-sleeved bodysuit, and Christian Zucconi, clad in a 5XL T-shirt and blue bathrobe, bounded around the stage with unbridled abandon, exhorting fans to join in the fun for the infectious “Itchin’ on a Photograph” and “Tongue Tied.” To add more bounce to the latter, a former No. 1 hit on the alternative rock charts, Grouplove even teased a little of Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love.”
The band slowed things down only for a poignant “Slow,” which they dedicated to recently deceased actor and comedian Robin Williams. Grouplove then unleashed dance party after dance party, with “Borderlines and Aliens,” “Ways to Go” and “Colours” ending their regularly scheduled programming.
From there, Grouplove gathered a few members of Portugal. The Man to join them for a never-before-attempted take on the Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” an encore that nearly blew the doors off the Griffith Park venue.
Complete with cowbell and keyboards a-plenty, “Baba O’Riley” proved to be an unexpected closer. Yet, everyone on stage nailed it, marking a perfect singalong to end the evening.