Wednesday, October 2, 2013

{RECAP} crystal fighters, portugal. the man

Last night I made the annoying trek up to Silver Spring to catch Crystal Fighters and Portugal. The Man. Fortunately, the bands made the 16th street traffic oh so worth it.

After dancing from afar to Crystal Fighters at Firefly, it was such a treat to be able to get up close and personal with the talented and wacky members of the band. The lead singer was sporting a vintage women’s sequined sweater, a colorful head wrap, women’s sunglasses, and some sort of pant/skirt combination that made no sense at the same, perfect carefree sense. Meanwhile, the bassist wore no shirt save for a crystal pendant for the entire performance – giving way to some close calls for “Fighters crack”, but again, making perfect sense with the vibe of this band.

no shirt, no problem. 
The band covered a bunch of their fun loving hits and had a perfect balance between thier new album and older favorites. I particularly enjoyed the charming mandolin introduction to “Plage” and may or may not have been salsa dancing with myself during “Love Natural.” While the crowd was clearly there for Portgual. The Man and sadly did not reciprocate the bands undying energy during their hits like “At Home,” Crystal Fighters' enthusiasm never wavered and they absolutely killed it, stunning the crowd during new jam “Are We One.”

Portugal. The Man was up next and to be honest, I knew hardly anything about the band outside of these two (one, two) past TIOJ posts. During Crystal Fighters' set, I gave the crowd a pass on their lack of enthusiasm, reasoning that they weren't mentally prepared for the eccentricity and energy of this band. Boy was that a lame excuse.

Portugal. The Man were certainly not the chill band I expected and in fact, rivaled Crystal Fighters is eccentricity, enthusiasm, and aesthetic. From their entrance to the oldies classic “Unchained Melody” by Righteous Brothers to their incredible animated light show to enthusiasm of the crowd to their opening number “Purple Yellow Red & Blue,” this band is popular for a good reason.

they forgot some colors in "purple yellow red & blue"...
At one point, I’m pretty sure I was hypnotized by "Got It All" (totally guessing on the song) and animated background that featured a rodent-like cartoon creature; it was frightening and yet totally worked. After I pulling myself out of my hypnosis, I was pleased to hear “So American.”

All in all, this was a great night of a music from two eccentric bands who are able to make their eccentricity and music completely accessible and enjoyable. Keep doing what you’re doing, guys.

Next Up: Keep Shelly in Athens with Chad Valley and Brett at DC9 next week!


  1. I saw Portugal. The Man at Bonnaroo a couple years ago but hardly remember. Their newest album is so much more refined and catchy than their other stuff that I feel as though they're a new band to me (oh you brilliant producer, Danger Mouse!). I really wanted to see them but we have a show Friday (FLips) and can't do two in a week. But Crystal Fighters I hardly know but knew they'd be a good show, glad you dealt with the Silver Spring stupidity to attend, jealous!

    1. I totally agree -- this new album is different and wonderful! Have so much fun at Merriweather tomorrow, hope you can beat the traffic at catch Tame Impala's set -- so curious to hear how they are live!


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