Paul Wellman

Portugal. The Man at the S.B. Bowl

Santa Barbara “Feels It Still” with Portland Psychedelia

Portugal. The Man rode into Santa Barbara on a remarkable roll, with both the year’s most durable crossover hit in “Feel It Still” and a reputation for powerful, nonstop live performances. On this Saturday in Santa Barbara between its two Sunday appearances at Coachella, the band was at its best, clearly happy and proud to be playing what it announced from the stage was its biggest gig ever. Weaving snippets of classic-rock covers into the undulating tapestry of its own sound, the band romped through more than a dozen songs in approximately 90 minutes, including “Purple Yellow Red and Blue,” “Live in the Moment,” and “Atomic Man,” which it embellished with a fragment of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” The Beatles also got a lot of love from the band; excerpts from “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “Hey Jude” swirled through longer arrangements of its original songs.

This tactic works for Portugal. The Man because of the way the group layers grooves on top of grooves in its own music, creating a comfy bed for its classic-rock allusions. It can get the whole crowd singing the “na-na-na, nas” from “Hey Jude” without ever losing its place in “Sleep Forever,” an arena-sized anthem from its 2011 release, In the Mountain in the Cloud. As for “Feel It Still,” the presentation was stripped down, swinging, and tantalizingly brief, especially given the song’s outsized impact on the group’s reputation. These musicians have been around long enough and have enough other great material not to have to milk anything, even the most endlessly repeatable, danceable hook of 2017.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Santa Barbara Priests Named in New Abuse Reports

Twelve men accused of child molestation served in area parishes.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Far Higher than Projected

The county misses its target by a whopping 29 percentage points.

Toasts and Roasts for Wolf and Hart

There will be a changing of the guard for the second supervisorial district.

ICE Detains Individual on Westside

Enforcement action on Wednesday morning questioned community members and picked up one person.

Rough Start for San Marcos Principal Search

Parents and board members are demanding more transparency from the district.