(Photo Credit - Graham Agcaolli)
Advance Review - Portugal. The Man: Oregon City Sessions (April 16, 2021)
Thanks to the world’s unanticipated hiatus from all things social, many of our favorite bands have found themselves in an unfamiliar idle position, lacking ways to engage their audiences beyond social media. One band, Portugal. The Man, have found themselves in a similar position, experiencing one of the few breaks they have had during their entire career. Thankfully for Portugal. The Man fans, that won’t keep them from giving us yet another way to enjoy their music.
By now, Portugal. The Man is an award-winning, international sensation whose incredible work ethic and passion have resulted in eight full-length studio albums and an EP. But in 2008, the Alaskan natives had already performed nearly 500 shows, traveling from city to city before ending a tour in December. It was then in 2008, between the band’s third and fourth albums, that Portugal. The Man decided to create a time capsule of their live experience at the time. Just weeks before beginning their next album, The Satanic Satanist, the band decided to capture the culmination of what their live performances had become. Without retakes, overdubs, or edits, the band performed and recorded their entire set in a suburban Portland studio, creating the Oregon City Sessions album. After the band teased its release with a live video of their performance of “The Devil,” Portugal. The Man will finally release Oregon City Sessions on April 16, with vinyl and CD versions coming June 11.
“The first few years of PTM were whirlwind," says singer/guitarist John Gourley in a statement. "We didn't have a place to live so we were pretty much either recording or touring. We were so wide-eyed coming out of Alaska that every day was an exciting new adventure. I think you can see it in our playing.”
Friends of the band used handheld cameras to capture the magic, with the intent of releasing the album someday. Filmmaker Graham (Baclagon) Agcaolli and engineer/mixer Jacob Portrait (who would later join Unknown Mortal Orchestra) would help to document the sessions. Completely unchanged from the day it was completed, Oregon City Sessions has finally found its way the band’s many fans around the world. The album provides a no-nonsense look at how the band would have sounded around the time period before their incredible success. Raw in comparison to studio albums with countless edits, Oregon City Sessions showcases what the band’s powerful stage presence would have sounded like earlier in their career, without the need for the audience noise in the background to tell us we are listening to a live album.
The tracks from the album are a combination of tracks from their early studio albums. Despite being a decade old, few have seen or heard the music, with only a handful of those close to the band and local supporters having been shown the film. Oregon City Sessions is a unique way to listen to the Portugal. The Man experience without suffering through the bad audio of old YouTube videos. Hindsight makes it easy to know the band was going to be a success, but for anyone lucky enough to hear Oregon City Sessions before now, that was pretty obvious.
Rating - 5/5