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The Sound

Portugal. The Man


Headliner, Grammy winner to perform at 80/35.

The 80/35 music festival is scheduled for July 12-13 at Gateway Park. This year’s extravaganza features more than three dozen acts playing on five different stages. Portugal. The Man is one of 80/35’s headlining acts, and the band is scheduled to perform on Hy-Vee Stage on July 13. CITYVIEW spoke with the band’s drummer, Jason Wade Sechrist, about the upcoming gig.

The band formed in Wasilla, Alaska, in 2006, but the area’s live music scene wasn’t viable. Two of the original members packed up and joined Sechrist in Portland, and that is how Portugal. The Man was formed.

The band’s name — Portugal. The Man — with a period in the middle, regularly gives editors headaches and leaves readers squinting, but it is the proper rendering. The band isn’t named after Portugal and doesn’t have any connection to the European nation. Likewise, it isn’t named for a man named Portugal. It is just a random name.

With eight recorded albums, the band plays a combination of progressive, psychedelic, punk and alternative rock. The band’s resume includes a Grammy Award for Best Pop Group Performance in 2018 for their hit song, “Feel It Still.”
Sechrist says, in the middle of a European tour, they “snagged a Grammy,” which reflects 15 years of hard work in the making.

“It was definitely a blast,” he says. “It catapulted the band into a new situation. We’ve been offered more events, and it’s opened up new options.”

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The band doesn’t fit into a genre, which is frustrating for folks who want a label.

“When you’re inside the band, recording albums, you’re genre-less,” he explains. “What people see as a genre and hear on the radio gets pinholed into a certain genre. What happens on the radio versus the recording studio are two different things.”

Playing live concerts allows the band to perform diverse musical selections.
“We can get heavier, make it a little Pink Floyd-ish or Grateful Dead-like to stretch out our tunes,” he says.

Touring is a big aspect of the band, consisting of a hectic, intense schedule. Sechrist lives in Portland, records albums in Los Angeles and tours worldwide.

“It’s pretty darn fun, and we don’t hit it too hard,” he says. “It’s almost like PTSD when we’re done. It’s such a letdown.”

On the other hand, the band is trying to figure out how to perform and still do justice to family and friends. While Sechrist’s wife was in labor, he boarded an airplane to meet her.
“I missed my first kid being born,” he says. “Touring takes a lot of time. Births, deaths — things happen while you’re gone, and you can’t always pay honor to your loved ones.”

Sechrist says he and his fellow band members are avid basketball fans, and they attempt to mimic successful basketball team basics.

“Being up on stage, we’re all comfortable and confident,” he says. “We see basketball as a team sport. We ask ourselves, ‘Are we performing well? Nailing all the shots?’ Our offstage camaraderie helps as well.”

Sechrist says 80/35 is fun event to play, and he is looking forward to it.

“I’m a huge fan of outdoor shows,” he says. “It’s the nighttime in the fresh air. There’s no ceiling. You know the building won’t collapse or catch on fire. … I have a feeling music started without a shelter. Hopefully weather will be perfect. I know Iowa likes to rock.”

Tickets for 80/35 are available at ♦

One Comment

  1. C says:

    Wow, I spent 42 years thinking Portugal was in Europe, only to learn from your publication it’s in South America. Thanks Cityview for the geography lesson!

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