Alt-J and Portugal. The Man at The Theater at Virgin Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas - 4/3/2022

LAS VEGAS, NV - On Sunday, April 3rd, Alt-J headlined a rock show at The Theater at Virgin Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas with support from Portugal. The Man and Cherry Glazerr.

This concert was definitely one to remember, mostly because, in my opinion, it was one of the coolest Portugal. The Man concerts I have ever been to (and this was my 6th one + one virtual livestream concert during the end of the Pandemic…has it ended yet?). Though, I feel like every concert I have been to of theirs is great in their own way.

But let’s start with the opening act Cherry Glazerr - an alt-rock, indie band from Los Angeles, California.

They are a band that might fit into the 80’s soundtracks of yore as easily as a shoe-gazer playlist today with their subdued rock style and synth sounds. But don’t mistake a laid back sound for a laid back attitude as the songs still hit pretty hard, and lead singer Clementine Creevy writes about some pretty intense topics such as being a subservient girlfriend and hating it to just trying to figure out what one’s place is in the world.

I would definitely say they are worth checking out, but I would say their sound and style seem to be a lot more comfortable on a smaller scale stage (at least at this point) than a 4500 person theater.

Next up came Portugal. The Man. On the heels of releasing their first new single, “What? Me Worry?” from their upcoming album due out later this year, this tour is a perfect time to get reacquainted with a band that most of America and the world would know from such hits as “Feel It Still” and “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love every Portugal. The Man album and pretty much every song they have ever made, but I am always stoked when the band chucks in an older song or something new into the set that I haven’t seen or heard before. So, this night was a lot of fun for me, because not only did they play “And I” from the album Censored Colors which as the kids say these day is a “deep cut” from an older album, but they also threw in a faux encore (since they didn’t get one as the supporting band) by having a 7 or 8 minute instrumental interlude that included some Pink Floyd (“Time”) and CKY (“Rio Bravo”).

Also, they started off their set with a Beavis and Butthead clip talking about their own music video for “Feel It Still” that was 100% epic.

I would say that normally when I love a band, I don’t like that they play covers too often, but in the case of Portugal. The Man, I always have to tame that notion, because they play damn medleys and loop covers into breakdowns of their own songs that make the whole damn experience so crowd-friendly that you can’t help but sing along and bob your head.

I will always long for more of their older songs to be played in their sets, but I know that is probably a thing of the past, and I am just glad I have seen them so many times over the years to have witnessed those old songs being played in smaller settings. I will never forget those shows.

 

Last but not least, Alt-J came on stage to play through some of their new songs (“The Actor”, “U&Me”) and through their hits as well.

I will say this, Alt-J has a really cool screen-cage apparatus that gives their show some psychedelic aspects to it. 

They are technically sound, and they have a large fanbase.

For me, though, I still just don’t get the appeal of their music or their live show. I actually was borderline bored. I like some of their songs (not all, but about 8 or so songs are quite good), and I am not bored at a concert easily. However, I felt like I was watching a concert where there was some inside joke or sub-plot that I wasn’t aware of, and it just felt like me watching the Blue Man Group with less action.

The band was raised on a stage on top of the stage which renders them pretty immobile for safety reasons, but I think that’s because the band themselves know that running around or rocking out isn’t their strong suit, and I can appreciate showmanship in whatever form it comes. So, the stage wasn’t a bad idea. I think without it and the cage, I may have literally fallen asleep while standing.

I don’t like to be disparaging to bands either. I have just never understood what I am missing with Alt-J. Their sound is a bit folk-synth-grunge which I probably only like 1/3rd of that mix, and it is probably why I only like about 1/3rd of their songs.

I think my favorite song of the night was actually one of their new ones in “The Actor.” It had more energy than most songs on their set, and the story is actually pretty straightforward (about an unsuccessful actor) where a lot of their fan-favorite songs don’t make much sense to me even after reading lyrics (“Breezleblocks” being one of them - had to look up the meaning of that song to figure it out).

So, if you are into really going deep on a band, then Alt-J may be up your alley. For me, they just don’t connect enough instantly for me to really feel warranted in digging into more of their songs.

In the end, I will say that I had a great time, and I would recommend anyone to go check the show out. Just know that if you are not already a fan of Alt-J, I am not sure their live show will do much in the way of swaying you. However, if you haven’t heard of the other two bands, and you are an Alt-J fan, then you will have a good chance of at least enjoying their live shows leading up to the Alt-J ending.