By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
The term "indie" barely describes the Alaskan combo Portugal. The Man. While maintaining ties with soul, blues and folk, the band's experimental bent is both its calling card and, occasionally, its curse.
Using drum machines and synth loops to set the rhythm, frontman John Gourley and the rest of this hip quartet create dense collections of riffs and textures, sometimes taking off in unexpected directions and sometimes going nowhere fast. Part of the band's charm (besides its catchy moniker) is the players' ability to ignore convention and play to the spirit of the music, even if that spirit might lead to a rambling, incoherent mess.
Adding to the evening's fun will be Facing New York, a Bay-area trio who should add just the right amount of stability to the proceedings. Looking like an average collection of dockworkers, Eric Frederic and crew actually expand the notion of punk without succumbing to the pretensions of emo.
Ska punkers RX Bandits top this bill and, although the band has added some interesting soul and progressive rock elements into its sound, this will certainly be a case of the openers overshadowing the headliner.