If you reference one of my previous blog posts (Woodstock '69, anyone),
I was jamming some very groovy, very eclectic Portugal. the Man. I got a chance to see them live at Mojo's in Columbia on March 24.
I shouldn't even try a review of this wonderful band; this work of art. Due to my limited vocabulary, I couldn't even paint a deserving picture of the music and unique oddness radiating forth.
John Gourley, from Alaska, created Anatomy of a Ghost in 2002. One album Evanesce was released in 2003 and despite high reviews and a large fan base, Anatomy disbanded in 2004. During their two years of existence, I was able to witness their awe twice, once at the Warped Tour and again at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS.
Wondering what this has to do with Portugal. the Man? I'm getting there.
The Warped Tour: 2003
100 degree weather, humid, bottle of water: $6. Young people abound, hitting numerous stages to hear their favorite band or a new sound they can take home with them. I had always heard of Anatomy and today was the first time I would see them. The stage was small, not too many people; maybe 15. I was a row back. But with smaller bands and smaller stages, there usually is no uniformity to the crowd. I could have stepped up to the front if I wanted. I waited. The person in front of me probably didn't take in the awe of the Alaska natives as much as I, because he turned and left. I stepped forward. Not quite center stage but good enough to see the crazy, arm-flailing motions of this fresh band. They were very energetic; bouncing around grabbing each other's shirts and dragging each other across the stage. All the while, the sweet music flowed flawlessly. Towards the end of their set, the music revving up for a final blow to the crowd, Gourley, singing his falsetto, jump-kicked his lead guitarist, knocking him backwards into a mic stand tettering on the edge of the stage. It all happened so fast... I happened to be in the way of that gravity-obeying mic stand. The mic came crashing right onto my forehead, almost knocking me to the ground. I stumbled, stars everywhere. Oh, that 100 degree heat... As I'm trying to not pass out and hoping there is no blood, I realized the entire band is circling me, holding me up, asking if I'm alright. Needless to say, I visited the medical tent; air conditioning and free water! I rested with an ice pack. No blood but a large knot. I didn't want to be long. I had more bands to see and a terrible sun burn to achieve. Later, when it was time to pack up and head home, I made a stop at the Anatomy tent and snapped a picture with Gourley and his pink flip flops (of course it has gone missing.) They signed my ice pack (which is still in my freezer today) and gave me a tshirt. My new favorite live show performance...
Bottleneck, Lawrence, KS: 2003
It was a cold, wintry night in Lawrence. The Bottleneck held quite a few. Anatomy of a Ghost opened for...um...I'm not sure. I probably visited that evening solely for them. Gourley brought the same stage presence as before but wanted a dancy feeling. He urged all of us to dance; let loose. After an amazing show, I headed out to the alley behind the Bottleneck to hang with the band. I brought up the Warped Tour incident.
"Mic stand, yeah?"
"Oh yeah! We were just talking about you today!"
I felt admiration. This band who travels across the nation, meeting may different people, remembers me and one scary ordeal. We talked a lot and Gourley told me he was hoping to advance the band to a new, dancy feel.
Not long afterwards, I caught news of Anatomy's break up.
Later, in 2004, Gourley started to focus all of his attention on his side project, Portugal. the Man. They released their debut Waiter: "You Vultures!" in 2006. This was followed by their sophomore effort, Church Mouth, 2007; rounded out by Censored Colors, 2008; The Satanic Satanist and The Majestic Majesty, both 2009; and American Ghetto, 2010.
Portugal. the Man is very dancy, something Gourley had hoped to see in us that night at the Bottleneck.
I didn't get a chance to talk with Gourley in March when Portugal. the Man swept the stage. I wonder if he remembers that short girl with the scary sun burn and the mic stand incident...