The last time we saw Portishead live was when we watched the Roseland New York DVD. The time before that was when watched the Roseland New York DVD for the first time. The time before that was never, so it was with great stokedness that we went to LA's Mayan Theater to watch Portishead play in the US for the first time in years. YEARS! Taking the stage to Fairport Convention's "Who Knows Where The Time Goes," they announced that this was a rehearsal performance to try out all their equipment before for their big show in the desert this weekend. Indeed the show had a "last run through before the dress rehearsal" vibe—there was no moody lighting, no projections or backdrops, Beth Gibbons wore flip-flops. Surprisingly, the set pulled heavily from their first two albums, which came out last decade. Yes it was great to hear the subaquatics of "All Mine," the powerful simplicity of "Wandering Star," and a take on "Sour Times" with a J.B.'s-style backbeat that made it sound like a actual dance track, but probably the biggest thrill was watching Geoff Barrow recreate the industrial thwack of "Machine Gun" on the drum pads. Of their new songs, the first single from the upcoming Third is most likely to inspire a genre unto itself and set the mood when another band takes the stage twenty years from now. We didn't have a camera, but a lot of people were holding up theirs and recording video for the entire performance. The video up top has like ten minutes of the show.
Live: Portishead In Los Angeles
April 25, 2008