The hue and cry surrounding the recent 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” has led some people to sneer that no band has approached the stellar artistry of the Beatles’ classic works. These cynics clearly aren’t aware of Portugal. The Man.
Beginning with its 2006 song cycle, the Portland-based indie-rock band has issued ornate concept albums that channel the ambitious work of the Beatles. Portugal. The Man will celebrate the June 16 release of its eighth album, “Woodstock,” with fans in Kansas City.
The album’s advance singles indicate that “Woodstock” is a meditation on troubling headlines. “Noise Pollution” directly addresses terrorist attacks. On “Feel It Still,” high-pitched vocalist John Gourley proposes that “we could fight a war for peace.” On “So Young” he insists “it’s troubling when the belly of the beast starts rumbling.”
The songs evoke John Lennon’s anger, Paul McCartney’s pop savvy, George Harrison’s spirituality and Ringo Starr’s rhythmic punch. As with most of Portugal. The Man’s stellar catalog, the new songs imply that dancing defiantly is a liberating response to turbulent times.
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Like Portugal. The Man, Friday’s opening band, Electric Guest, has called on famed producer Danger Mouse to help it refine its dance-pop sound. The Los Angeles duo will set the mood with renditions of frantic hits like “This Head I Hold.”
Tickets to the Friday concert at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland are $26.50 in advance at midlandkc.com.
Concert previews by Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink