For one night, the Lords of Portland came into New York and called Queens their own.
At the end of May, there was a chance to go and watch Portugal. The Man’s set at Boston Calling. There were no other artists playing at the time, and it was a surprising free period throughout the Friday of the festival. As the set began, I wound up not sticking around and decided to take a quick tour of the area before another artist came out later. I state all this to make one thing very clear after getting to see Portugal. The Man last night at Forest Hills —
I believe I made a mistake.
Portugal. The Man have been at it for over ten years now, but with Feel It Still (which won them a Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance) they’ve become one of the most popular bands on the scene and rightfully so. Before Portugal came on, the Queens audience was greeted by local Native Americans holding signs of protest as well as performing some traditional Native American music. The band, originally from Alaska, grew up surrounded by large native populations, and adding these small performances at the start of their shows is a nice inclusion of a history that we as Americans may not be that familiar with.
At this point, the crowd was eagerly awaiting Portugal. The Man to come on stage. Then a Beavis & Butthead skit popped up in the background and it was time — beginning with a small rendition of Metallica’s For Whom The Bells Toll leading into a mashup of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall and there own Purple Yellow Red and Blue, we were all in for a night we wouldn’t forget. Most of the set list consisted of songs off the more recently released Woodstock and their 2013 record Evil Friends. Accompanying the performance was some of the most bizarre and hypnotic visuals I’ve seen at a show as well as some inspiring and motivational quotes spoken throughout history.
It’s safe to say it got a little weird on stage, and I wouldn’t have expected anything less.
Joining Portugal. The Man at Forest Hills Stadium were three openers that each added to how special the night was. Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers followed by Jungle opened up the day, bringing the audience two acts that they may have been unfamiliar with before the day began. The third act of the day and New York natives, Lucius came on and put on a simple yet mesmerizing performance that includes the two frontwomen (wearing their best 1920’s look) singing into the same microphone with dancers surrounding them.
Forest Hills Stadium has been home to some memorable acts over the last few years, and adding Portugal. The Man to the list is just another impressive notch for the venue. At a time where it feels like Brooklyn, Manhattan, and even the Bronx are dominating the live music scene in New York City, Forest Hills Stadium is Queens claim to fame. And while it might not match the quantity of shows in other areas of the city, the quality of show feels unlike anything I’ve felt at any other venue.