The crowd was big and so was the storm that rained on its party. But this evening, nature succeeded only in interrupting the party, not extinguishing it.
About halfway through Portugal the Man’s set Friday night, the dark, muscular clouds that had gathered ominously on the western horizon roiled above the crowd at Crossroads KC. For about 45 minutes, the sky unleashed a torrent of rain and plenty of lightning, interrupting the show for about an hour and cutting short Portugal’s set and the following set by headliner Grouplove.
Still, by the time the show ended at about 11:20 p.m., much of the sold-out crowd of more than 2,000 was still in the place, some looking as if they’d walked through a car wash a few times. They were rewarded for their patience and endurance with a lively, high-energy show, although one that included a few too many covers.
Before the storm hit, Portugal, a five-piece from Wasilla, Alaska, opened the set with one: “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2),” which it fused with one of its own, “Purple Yellow Red and Blue,” a groovy, slightly psychedelic anthem about Ecstasy (the drug, not the emotion).
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After that came “Hip-Hop Kids,” a bright, brash anthem whose mood betrays its caustic lyrics. “Modern Jesus,” a breezy, pop-funky midtempo anthem, got a big response and a big singalong on the joyous chorus.
The rain interruption quelled the momentum, but the band revived it with songs like the jaunty and punkish “Evil Friends,” the title track of its latest album. The cover of “Dayman” from the TV comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” got a warm response from those in the crowd who recognized it.
The band closed with a cover everyone recognized: “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” an Oasis song.
Grouplove, a five-piece from Los Angeles, took the stage around 10:30 p.m., about an hour behind schedule. The band apologized in advance for the shorter set, thanked the crowd for sticking around, then launched into a brisk 50-minute show.
It opened with “I’m With You,” from its latest full-length, “Spreading Rumours,” released in September 2013. Like much of Grouplove’s material, the song is manic and groovy and larded with harmonies, and it arouses lots of singing and dancing.
The band, too, is manic and kinetic, especially keyboardist/vocalist Hannah Hooper, who wore what looked like (from a distance) a leopard-skin leotard, and Christian Zucconi, who, during “Raspberry,” twirled like a deranged dervish before hurling his guitar in the air then catching it just as it came precariously close to striking a bandmate in the skull.
“Shark Attack,” another from the “Rumours” album, started an eruption of singing and dancing. “Tongue Tied,” Grouplove’s most popular song (according to Spotify) then ignited a friendly riot. The band followed that with a cover of Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love,” which seemed unnecessary. Given the abbreviated set, one of its own would have been a better choice.
The band fired off four more of its own songs, including “Colours,” a poppy, groovy, indie-rock anthem that has some Modest Mouse in its roots, down to its incendiary finish. The band said its good nights but soon returned with the boys from Portugal the Man for one more: a cover of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” that felt as soggy as the mulch we were standing in. Perhaps “Love, Reign O’er Me” would have been more appropriate.
Grouplove set list
I’m With You; Itchin’ on a Photograph; Raspberry; Shark Attack; Tongue Tied; Drunk in Love; Slow; Borderlines and Aliens; Ways to Go; Colours; Baba O’Riley.