From left: Jason Sechrist (drums), John Baldwin Gourley (guitars, lead vocals), Zachary Scott Carothers (bass, background vocals) and Ryan Neighbors (keyboards, background vocals)
I recently caught Portugal the Man at this year's Lollapalooza as they played just before a massive storm struck the park, and dozens of us ran for shelter under tents to wait for it to die down. Unfortunately, that wasn't the only thing to rain on their parade: After the festival, they discovered their van. packed with all of their gear, was stolen.
For a band, this is devastating. Oftentimes a band's van and gear are the biggest investments it makes, and the only thing that makes it functional. The van and trailer have since been recovered, but they're still missing a lot of their gear. The band has since posted a Google document listing the equipment that they still can't find. Social networking played a key role in rallying fans and followers to help recover their stolen gear. It's an entirely new playing field when bands can interact with fans directly through those mediums, not only to share art but to ask for help.
Thankfully, Portugal the Man seems to be in high spirits as they continue a hearty touring schedule through the fall and winter months. This isn't surprising, for a band that has put out an album a year for the last five, and there are no signs of it slowing down. The act's latest effort, In the Mountain In the Cloud, sounds celestial, gleaning whatever was left from '70s glam rock and psychedellia. In their earlier years they'd be categorized as more of a post-rock band, but they've grown experimentally -- electronic beats, eclectic melodies that sound more jam band than alternative rock. They've got that Fruit Bats groove, plucked out of the '70s but with elements of modern electronica.