Portugal. The Man Performs Two Free Shows in Denver in One Day

Portugal. The Man during a 2017 show. The group returns to Red Rocks on August 8, 2018.
Portugal. The Man during a 2017 show. The group returns to Red Rocks on August 8, 2018. Miles Chrisinger
Usually known for playing large venues like Red Rocks, today Portugal. The Man is playing free shows at two more intimate spots: Blake Street Tavern for Keggs & Eggs and MCA Denver for a private, collaborative show, which will accommodate roughly 120 people selected at random during a giveaway challenge.

“Collaborations allow you to avoid being pigeonholed into a situation where you’re only comfortable in one environment," says Jason Sechrist, the band's drummer. "You never know what environment, whether intimate or gigantic, you’ll end up digging on.”

The show at the MCA is in collaboration with Cleon Peterson, whose Shadow of Men exhibit includes the huge black-and-white wrap covering the outside of the museum. The collaboration between the artist and Portugal. The Man came from a friendship between frontman John Gourley and Peterson, says Sechrist.

"Cleon is real tight with John, our singer," Sechrist says. “They’re a couple of artists looking for an opportunity to do something together and bring music and art together. I’m definitely glad to be doing this, because his art is really, really cool.”

click to enlarge Install view of Cleon Peterson: Shadow of Men, with "Embrace" in the foreground. - FROM THE HIP PHOTO
Install view of Cleon Peterson: Shadow of Men, with "Embrace" in the foreground.
From the Hip Photo
Peterson’s works document trauma and violence from his personal experience and attempt to capture a darkness lurking within everyone. "By knowing that and not trying to push it down, people can in some way create an empathy," he told Westword.

Portugal. The Man’s music is similar. Yes, “Feel It Still” is the definition of a pop song, a Grammy-winning one at that. But the band’s music comes from troubling places, too.

“We all like pop music; we were all big fans of pop hits and radio growing up back in the day," Sechrist says. "One song might be pop, and the next could go back into the darkness or back into some gloomy stuff."

If the end of their Grammy acceptance speech doesn't convince you, take a look at the band's album titles or throw on “The Dead Dog” for proof.

For Sechrist, putting out pop songs, one right after the other, "feels wacky...How can that be someone's emotions? Surely you’ve got some dark feelings in there somewhere. I like to see a balance. We’re just trying to find balance.”

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kenzie Bruce formerly Westword’s social media editor, is a Mizzou photojournalism graduate and was previously the manager of communications and multimedia for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in Atlanta.
Contact: Kenzie Bruce