When it comes to Alaska, Portugal. The Man is "Feelin' it still"
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Alaska-grown band Portugal. The Man plays its first of two sold-out shows Friday night at the Alaska Airlines Center on the UAA campus. Itâs the first time the band has been back to its home state since winning a Grammy for their hit of the year, âFeel It Still.â
John Gourley, the bandâs frontman, originally from Wasilla, says the song just happened at the right time. âTo act like we wrote that song and we knew what it was going to be â" you canât do that, and thatâs the honest truth,â Gourley said Friday just before the band did a sound-check for the nightâs performance. âSo much of this is up to chance, itâs just about capturing the right thing at the right time, and it just happened to be something that was very representative of us, and where we come from.â
Z ach Carothers, who's been making music with Gourley since the two were in high school in Wasilla, sported a Carhartt jacket emblazoned with the âLords of Portlandâ logo, a band nickname, and said being from Alaska helped them to their success by giving them the work ethic they need. âAlaskaâs just the best place to grow up,â he said. âEverything we do, our work ethic. Everything we learned about ourselves and nature â" we learned all that growing up here as kids.â
Gourley said their Alaska background helps them approach playing big festivals, like Coachella and Bonnaroo, with a âget-it-doneâ attitude. âThe conversation in the van was, âwhat do you think it takes to set up all these tents and all these stages?â and âhow do you feed all these people?ââ Gourley said. âIt was more about the process of doing this, and I think if we werenât from Alaska, thereâs no way we wouldâve stuck it out this whole time.â
Part of the homecoming-feel of the series is a testament to the amount of work it takes to put a show on.
"Itâs been really good to come back home and finish with our shows here," Carothers said. "Weâve never done that properly, and this is also kind of the first time weâve really got to bring everything that weâve got up here."
Though theyâve been based in Portland for years, the band members hold Alaska close to their heart, and have become advocates for First Nations and Indigenous people wherever they go. Earlier this year, the band canceled a performance on a TV show in Australia after it aired a segment in which an all-white panel discussed the merits of removing Indigenous children from their families.
Why the band feels called to take a stand? âAlaska raised us right,â Gourley said. âIt is such a part of being Alaskan and maybe thatâs been forgotten that we, we should be supporting the people that taught us how to hunt, fish, and live out here.â
The band invites local indigenous groups to their stage at their shows to educate the crowd, and themselves.
âWeâve got a platform, weâve got an audience,â Carothers said. âSo whatever they want to talk about. Sometimes itâs lectures, sometimes itâs political, sometimes itâs poetry, sometimes itâs singing, sometimes itâs dancingâ¦ Thereâs a lot of love and a lot of knowledge being passed around.â
Tonightâs show does have a special guest planned. The band didnât name them, but took to the stage for their sound check wearing white kuspuks.
While the band has made the hit charts, the Grammys stage and even commercial spots, the outdoors is still what they love about home.
Their must-see spot on every trip home: Hatcher Pass.
âI have to go back there and walk around,â Gourley said. He said this trip to Alaska is the first for his daughter that sheâs old enough to really experience it, and she commented on how dark it was outside. âShe was experiencing this complete silence and darkness for really the first time as a real kid,â Gourley said. âAnd it was just cool explaining that to her: This is where we grew up. Itâs not dark, itâs nice, itâs how it should be.âSource: Google News Portugal | Netizen 24 Portugal