Words: Amanda Krew
On September 12th, a packed Merriweather Post Pavilion was buzzing with excited fans anticipating Honda Civic’s 13th annual tour. This years headliners included indie-pop crowd pleasers, Grouplove and psychedelic rock group, Portugal. The Man. The two bands gripped the audience throughout the night with powerhouse vocals, infectious dance beats, and mind-blowing visuals; what else could anyone ask for from a live show? Although just about every seat was filled, not one was being sat on.
Portland based, Portugal. The Man spanned their three most popular albums, catering to the mostly new fan base, but by no means did they cut any corners. As John Gourley’s psychedelic artwork poured onto the screen, the iconic lines of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall flooded the venue, concluding in the familiar war cry of “Hey! Teacher! Leave those kids alone!” Just as the crowd thought they were in for a traditional cover, Gourley’s falsetto buzz took over, blending the classic rock tune into Purple Yellow Red and Blue, a song off their 2014 release, Evil Friends. Without breaking the palpable energy after the opener, P.TM flowed seamlessly from song-to-song covering hits such as All Your Light, So American, and The Sun. What really set this performance apart from the band’s other tours was the light show, projecting virtual clouds over the audience and Technicolor lasers into the lawn. Through the freight train of hits, P.TM folded covers such as Day Man from Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis, and Ghostface Killah’s A Kilo into staples off of their studio albums.
The members of LA based band, Grouplove, walked out onto the dimly lit stage. Singer Christian Zucconi was sitting center stage playing a piano ballad, when the beat finally started to pulse and the lights came up, unveiling the punchy pop I’m With You, from their newest album Spreading Rumours. The set then quickly transitioned to the chart topping songs Itchin’ on a Photograph and Lovely Cup while singer Hannah Hooper danced around the stage in a money-printed spandex body suit occasionally dipping her hand into the sea of jumping fans. As the set dove into the group’s new album, it was apparent, not only by the band’s energy soaked performance, but also by the reaction of the crowd, that the record was a hit. The crowd seemed to know the whole album word for word. Ten songs into the set, Grouplove surprised the crowd with a cover of Beyoncé’s Drunk In Love, complete with a hip-gyrating rap masterfully executed by Hannah Hooper.
The concert concluded in a performance of The Who’s Baba O’Riley with Kyle O’Quinn and Zach Carothers of Portugal. The Man accompanying Grouplove; an appropriate way to end a spitfire performance. Every so often one can witness a live show that makes the ringing ears, sore feet, and the crush of tightly packed crowds worth it. Live shows that deliver musically and aesthetically are far from a rarity these days, but attending this concert raises the bar high for Merriweather acts yet to come.