9:30 Club has been bringing so many great acts to the District over the past few weeks that it’s been hard to keep up. I’m not complaining, but let’s just say that it was one helluva an October for DC’s premiere venue. There was one bill that had me pop out of my chair when it was announced: Portugal. The Man and Alberta Cross. I had seen both at Bonnaroo and desperately wanted another look that wasn’t in the middle of Tennessee under 100 degree heat. This was my chance and I was not disappointed.
Alberta Cross played for fifty minutes and lead singer Petter Ericson Stakee’s eery, wailing voice filled whatever crowd space was left by the time they went on. “Rise from the Shadows” and “Money for the Weekend” were really fantastic. All in all, a great rock compliment to the unstoppable force of psychedelic synth-pop that was about to be unleashed upon the District.
Portugal. The Man opened with “So American” from their new album In The Mountain, In the Cloud. From the get-go, the band from Alaska via Portland had the light orbs shining and the fog blasting. For a while, the crowd couldn’t see anyone but frontman John Gourley. In one of the coolest covers I have ever seen live, they moved from “The Devil” into “Helter Skelter” and Gourley hit every frickin’ note. He was on point all night singing better than I have ever heard him before. “Head is Like a Flame” and “Everyone is Golden” were also particularly incredible. They ended the set with “Mornings” from The Satanic Satanist.
What really got me was the near twenty minute encore. It was a seamless transition from “The Sun” into “Senseless” into an extended rendition of “Sleep Forever”. The crowd was in a frenzy, the orbs were turning into every color of the rainbow and by the end, it really seemed like everyone was just going to pass out from the excitement. Take a look at the pictures and see for yourself after the jump.
STREAM: Portugal. The Man – “Senseless”