Portugal. The Man
Live At Neumo's


4.0
excellent

Review

by Alex C. Soothsayer USER (33 Reviews)
January 1st, 2010 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Portugal. The Jam

If you have ever spoken to someone who has attended a Portugal. The Man show they would most likely attest to how well the band performs in a live setting. Even though the band has a less than perfect track record in the studio, there are few naysayers when it comes to the band's live shows. The band always comes well prepared with a solid set list, usually consisting of fan favorites and some rarities thrown in the mix. Instead of playing the songs note for note as heard on the records, the band likes to mutate songs for the live setting. Some songs are completely changed, while others feature an extended jam in places or a crowd sing-along. The band has gotten better and better at perfecting their live show, and are often compared to the likes of The Mars Volta; another band notorious for their intricate on stage jams and captivating performance. For those who have not yet experienced a Portugal show Live at Neumo's will give a glimpse of what exactly the buzz is all about.

Live At Neumo's is a recording of a show Portugal played back in 2007 on tour for their second full length Church Mouth at Neumo's in Seattle. The album was officially released by the band for free through CASH Music (ironically CASH Music is more about band promotion than sales) in audio and DVD quality video formats. At just about 40 minutes long Portugal plays 7 songs: four from the then just released Church Mouth, two off their debut album Waiter: "You Vultures!" and b-side 'The Devil' off the Devil Say I, I Say Air EP. Naturally the band chooses the best songs off each album, including fan favorites 'AKA M80 The Wolf' and 'Church Mouth.' The former clocks in at nearly triple the length of the studio version (9 minutes!), featuring numerous jams and an a cappella sing-along during the second chorus with the audience. John C. Gourley's voice croons and swoons more than any studio recording can capture-- one can almost feel the emotion coming from his voice. The vocals are mixed fairly high, particularly on the audio recording of the album, whereas the DVD production is more favorable to the guitars.

'Church Mouth' gets the full live treatment, transforming into an aggressive romp filled with untamed guitars and booming bass. Of course the band finds a spot to jam out even in the short track length of the song, bringing yet another special quality to the live version of the track. Rarely played b-side 'The Devil' shines live as well, consisting of only John on guitar and maracas and tambourine providing rhythm for the majority of the song. The crowd comes together for a few "Oooos" during the chorus, on stage yells can be heard and plenty of unexpected shredding makes 'The Devil' very successful. Prime cuts off Church Mouth such as 'Shade,' 'Sugar Cinnamon' and 'Bellies are Full' fill out the rest of the set.

Both formats of the recording will yield different experiences. The audio recording is not the best, mixing the vocals a little too high and washing out the rest of the band; but as the band's only official live recording it is absolutely worth having. On the other hand, the DVD is nearly perfect when it comes to small club recordings. For whatever reason the band loves to pretend they are a post-rock band and play with as little lighting and as much fog as possible, making it tough to see what the band is doing most of the time. The atmosphere created by the band is somehow fitting however. As the music intensifies so does the lighting, sometimes flashing at near epilepsy including levels. John's unique stage positioning can be seen in the DVD, as he faces every way on stage except at the audience. On the other end of the spectrum is bassist Zach Carothers, whose energetic playing and stage presence is highly entertaining. One can see just how much the band is engaged in their playing as they jam out, making the video very enjoyable to watch.

Hailed as one of the best touring acts around today, Live At Neumo's gives a great view at that bold claim. A solid seven song setlist clocking in at a cool 40 minutes makes this recording easy to pop on again and again. For those who have never experienced Portugal live, Live at Neumo's is a must have. Fans of the band mouths' should already be watering for the first official live recording of the band; and as a free give away there is no excuse not to own this. Hopefully Portugal. The Man keeps up the momentum and continues to wow audiences for many more years.



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user ratings (11)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Prophet178
January 1st 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Get it fo' free here: http://portugaltheman.cashmusic.org/



TheEnforcer
January 1st 2010


270 Comments


Slightly generic in your paragraph formating, switch up some basic sentence structuring flaws and I'll look this over in a while.

feav233
January 1st 2010


1411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

finally going to get this, sounds like it should be pretty sweet

EVedder27
January 1st 2010


6088 Comments


nicely done man

Enotron
January 1st 2010


7695 Comments


these guys were great at lollapalooza, i'm sure this is excellent.

feav233
January 1st 2010


1411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

started listening, sounds pretty good, i have never seen them as they come around, something has always came up to prevent me seeing them live

Prophet178
January 1st 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Slightly generic in your paragraph formating, switch up some basic sentence structuring flaws and I'll look this over in a while.


Hmm not sure what you mean by generic paragraph formatting, but I'll read it over for grammar mistakes. Thanks.

nicely done man


Thank you sir!

these guys were great at lollapalooza, i'm sure this is excellent.


Hell yeah, even their acoustic set was great.

started listening, sounds pretty good, i have never seen them as they come around, something has always came up to prevent me seeing them live


Ah that sucks, they jam so hard, especially now. They started doing a lot of medleys, like 4 songs into one. I think when I saw them they did How The Leopard Got It's Spots/The Sun/Church Mouth/My Mind, it was ridiculous.

feav233
January 1st 2010


1411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ah man, that sounds awesome, can't wait for american ghetto to get released

Prophet178
January 1st 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Hell yeah, I hope it's as good as Satanist.

feav233
January 2nd 2010


1411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea, satanist was excellent, then again i have thought that pretty much everything they have done has been awesome

Prophet178
January 2nd 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Definitely. I think I might do a discography review of Portugal, I already got 4 out of 8 so why not. Church Mouth and Censored Colors need a higher rated review for sure.

Tits McGee
January 2nd 2010


1876 Comments


Frankly, the time I saw Portugal they we're somewhat awful. I may have caught them on a bad day or something idk.

feav233
January 2nd 2010


1411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yea, that would be pretty sweet if you would finish out the rest of them. Solid job on this one. It would be pretty sweet to see a review of wizards emerge. (I have been contemplating trying to write that for my first review, but I highly doubt I ever get around to doing it....at least anytime soon). Agreed, Church Mouth and Colors need a higher review rating than 1.5 and 2.5.

Bandido
January 2nd 2010


816 Comments


This sounds pretty cool I might check it out. I missed a chance to see them with RXB in Philly two years ago. Would've been epic

Bandido
January 2nd 2010


816 Comments


This sounds pretty cool I might check it out. I missed a chance to see them with RXB in Philly two years ago. Would've been epic

Bandido
January 2nd 2010


816 Comments


sorry for the double post

Prophet178
January 2nd 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Frankly, the time I saw Portugal they we're somewhat awful. I may have caught them on a bad day or something idk.


Weird. When did you see them?

Yeah I think I'm going to take on Wizard first since it's the last Portugal album that still needs a review, then start with Waiters and move forward.

This sounds pretty cool I might check it out. I missed a chance to see them with RXB in Philly two years ago. Would've been epic


Ah man, what a sick lineup, too bad you missed it. Tell me what you think if you end up checking this out.

taxidermist
March 11th 2010


7211 Comments


I realy enjoyed the live album
They captured their live set perfectly
Good review

MaskAtTheMasquerade
March 29th 2010


2887 Comments


sweet review, i totally forgot that you made me aware of this back when it came out. cant wait to give it a spin

habika
June 2nd 2010


1 Comments


This sounds pretty cool I might check it out. Agreed, Church Mouth and Colors need a higher review
rating than 1.5 and 2.5. I missed a chance to see them with RXB in Philly two years ago. Would've been
epic
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