With “Feel it Still,” the 2017 chart-topping single by Portugal. The Man, the Alaskan rockers achieved a Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and stayed at No. 1 on alternative radio for an all-time record of 20 weeks.
The album the song came from, “Woodstock,” also was home to “Live in The Moment,” another top hit that helped rocket the band into the mainstream.
Comprised of John Baldwin Gourley, Zach Carothers, Kyle O’Quin, Jason Sechrist, Eric Howk and Zoe Manville, Portugal. The Man’s genesis dates back to 2001 when Gourley and Carothers started performing together in high school.
Over two decades of playing together, the group has released seven studio albums with a new recording on the way this summer. The first release, “What, Me Worry?” has already earned hordes of critical success and the song is soaring up Spotify playlists and on radio.
“A lot of the ideas in these songs were starting to take shape during our last tour,” says Howk, the band’s power guitarist who performs in a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury he suffered in 2007. “This record is taking a look at everything we created and boiling it down to have an emotional arc, just like in ‘What, Me Worry.’ The idea of getting through your anxiety and being able to smile about it.”
Portugal. The Man will be heading back to one of their favorite spots in our area, with two gigs at The Anthem on February 26 and 27, where they will co-headline with alt-J.
“I got really excited when I saw The Anthem pop up on the schedule, as it’s always a treat playing there,” Howk says. “We’re super excited to crack our inertia and get the machine rolling again with a band as rad as alt-J. I think we’ll have some slight competition with them and try to out-loud them and out-bright them, and they’re going to do the same with us.”
You can expect a few of the songs off the upcoming record, as well as fan favorites and of course, the big hits.
During the pandemic, the bandmates stayed busy writing and making music together, and enjoying the lives that the success from “Woodstock” afforded them.
“We started a foundation and ended up doing a lot of work with indigenous groups, and never stopped writing or stopped recording,” Howk says. “We all set up pretty slick little home recording spaces and just sent ideas around 24 hours a day.”
There were some virtual performances, remote stuff and rehearsals where everyone got together — but still, not being able to play in front of live crowds was tough for the group and everyone was thrilled when this tour finally got the go-ahead.
“It’s so relieving to be normal workaholics out on the road playing in front of live crowds again,” Howk says.
And while waiting out the pandemic, getting to contemplate the million-to-one shot that “Feel it Still” ended up as for the band allowed Portugal. The Man to appreciate it so much more.
“We had the gift of having a little bit of time to put into perspective what the last few years have been like,” Howk says. “So much of our touring was filled with these really wild moments and we got to do some incredible stuff and play some incredible places. But we were just kind of in it. The fact that people are coming out and want to see us is not lost on us. We feel incredibly lucky to come out and do it again.”
Portugal. The Man will perform at The Anthem with alt-J on February 26 and 27 at 6:45 p.m. Tickets range from $85-$299 and can be purchased here.
Enjoy this piece? Consider becoming a member for access to our premium digital content. Support local journalism and start your membership today.