20 Watts

ISSUE 22 | Q&A: An Interview with Portugal. The Man by 20watts

John Baldwin Gourley of Portugal. The Man sat down with 20 Watts for a nice long chat. Here's what he had to say!

Part of our Issue 22 coverage!
PREVIEW: Click to access music and more info on Portugal. The Man!

Experimental indie rockers Portugal. The Man started out in Alaska in 2004 and have since released five studio albums and played countless shows, including one at Syracuse’s Westcott Theater last year. Coming off the release of their latest album American Ghetto, Portugal. The Man frontman John Baldwin Gourley agreed to talk with 20 Watts for a nice, long Q&A session.

20 Watts: In a short amount of time, you guys have amassed a pretty impressive catalogue. Some might even make the comparison to The Beatles… What’s been your favorite album that you guys have recorded so far?

John Gourley: Well, I know this is going to sound silly but every time we go into the studio I say that I’m Continue reading

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The Breakfast @ The Westcott (Photos and Review!) by 20watts
February 21, 2010, 9:15 am
Filed under: Scene Around Town | Tags: , , ,

The Breakfast sat down with us before playing a great two-and-a-half-hour set

PREVIEW: VISIT The Breakfast’s MySpace
READ: 20 Watts’ Interviews The Breakfast (coming soon!!)
VIEW: LOOK at photos from the show below the cut!

For a late-night Friday dessert, The Breakfast served up over two and a half hours of music at The Westcott Theater.   The band proved it has as much stamina as it does talent.  The four virtuosos from New Haven, CT played a 20-minute encore where both songs had as much intensity as the show’s beginning.  These guys work hard on stage and don’t get tired of it, and neither did last night’s crowd of about a hundred.

The Breakfast are a rock quartet known for their aggressive approach to rock, funk, hard rock, and psychedlic music.  It all molds into one when the band leaves the framework of a song behind and embarks on improvisational journeys.  This band has been playing together for over twelve years, and it shows in the way they communicate musically.  They can change the feel quickly or build it up to a climax over time.  All members are experienced in jazz, and they said that they focus on listening to each other during loose sections. Continue reading

A Friday Night with The Wood Brothers at the Westcott by Isabel Alcantara

The Wood Brothers rocked Westcott Theater last Friday night

PREVIEW: VISIT The Wood Brothers’ Website
PHOTOS: VIEW below the cut!

The Friday night crowd wasted no time whooping and hollering during The Wood Brothers’ first song, a funky take on Steve Earle’s “Mystery Train Part II.”

“Feels like a Friday night,” guitarist Oliver Wood said, acknowledging the energetic crowd.

The brotherly duo treated the crowd to a night of personal, soulful, and bluesy songs.  The music was carried by Oliver Wood’s pitch-perfect trebly vocals and bassist Chris Wood’s eloquent and tasteful lines.   For this special show, they were joined by percussionist Jed Kosiner, who added rhythmic textures on his snare drum, cymbals, and pandeiro (a Latin, tambourine-like instrument).

Oliver later gave his appreciation for “The Wood Brothers dancers,” the smiling mini crowd of twirlers to his left the whole show.  You would have guessed they were a rock band by the way the crowd yelled during songs.

“The foundations of their music are spiritually inspiring.  If you look inside to the nature of yourself, you’ll see that that’s what they’re singing about.  The spirit,” said Funk ‘n’ Waffles co-owner Kyle Corea. Continue reading

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Scene Around Town: Little Dragon and Ladyboys at the Westcott 11/20 with PHOTOS by laoppedi

Ladyboys at the Westcott on Friady

PREVIEW: VISIT Little Dragon’s Website

Westcott Theater was cold and empty.  Little Dragon, a synthy Swedish quartet, attract blog hype, but didn’t rope in more than 60 Syracuse residents to the Friday night show, leading to a general impression of awkward sparseness.  Zach James, a member of supporting act Ladyboys (not to mention one half of The Smash Brothers), performed a long DJ set as if expecting a sudden rush of latecomers.  Reinforcements never arrived, but the small crowd thankfully grouped toward the front of the stage as proceedings began. Continue reading

Scene Around Town: Mike Doughty by laoppedi
November 21, 2009, 5:09 pm
Filed under: Scene Around Town | Tags: , , ,

Mike Doughty worked the crowd Thursday night at the Westcott with a great set

PREVIEW: VISIT Mike Doughty’s website

Just like his songs, Mike Doughty keeps his shows straightforward, but entertaining; witty, but not caustic; and short, but sweet. In less than an hour and a half, Doughty packed 20 songs into his Thursday night set at the Westcott Theater, including crowd favorites “27 Jennifers,” “Circles,” and “Madeline and Nine.”

The intimate crowd of about 60 featured a casual mix of fans: the moderate hipsters represented with their standard uniform of plaid, knit hats and skinny jeans, while a sprinkling of slightly older folks were present, and clearly reliving their Soul Coughing days. Continue reading

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Scene Around Town: Minus the Bear at the Westcott with As Tall As Lions and Twin Tigers (plus PHOTOS) by Isabel Alcantara

Minus the Bear put on a phenomenal show at the Westcott Tuesday night

PREVIEW: STREAM Minus the Bear’s “Into the Mirror”
VIEW: PHOTOS Under the Cut

As Tall As Lions, Twin Tigers, and Minus the Bear ravaged the Westcott Theater Tuesday night with a show that only large carnivorous mammals could deliver.

It takes a hell of a band to get a crowd jumping on a Tuesday night, and Minus the Bear brought Saturday night energy to the Westcott.

Just when the crowd seemed to be calling it quits after luke-warm performances from the openers, Minus the Bear delivered a show worth rocking out to. Continue reading

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Scene Around Town: The Felice Brothers at Syracuse’s Westcott Theater by laoppedi
The Felice Brothers Westcott Theater

Ian Felice led a rowdy Felice Brothers set at the Westcott Theater on Friday

They didn’t know how to dance, but they did it anyway.

Upstate five-piece The Felice Brothers brought their rowdy, rugged brand of Americana rock to The Westcott Theater Friday night, delivering drawled anthems and raging jam sessions to a crowd of guys in flannel shirts and girls in dresses and hiking boots. If the lead singer felt like moving his microphone back to stand next to the keyboard player for a few moments, then he did. And if the fiddle player didn’t like kneeling over in his corner during a certain song, he would just walk over to the drum set, jump onto the bass drum and dance.

Everything they did onstage, they did it for the simple reason of enjoying themselves and putting on a show that everyone else could enjoy. And isn’t that the best kind of live music?

Rugged and yet somehow polished, The Felice Brothers have that “we don’t give a fuck if this is aesthetically pleasing” sound that gives them a certain edge not all bands of their style can pull off. During their more mellow songs they appeared to be in a trance, completely engaged in bringing their music to life. Then in a second they could transition to a song that felt like a raging jam session with a couple hundred people cheering them on.

And no matter what they did, it felt genuine. They would accept shouted requests from drunken members of the audience, run around stage singing into each others microphones, take turns singing lead on the different songs, and even hold out the microphone to allow the audience members to sing along to the particularly raucous chorus of “I put some whiskey, into my whiskey.” And the whole time, they were having a blast. This is a band that knows how to have fun, that has not yet reached the point where they are making music for any reason other than simply making music.

Getting ready to walk out of the show, I felt like I was going to find myself standing on a wooden porch in the middle of the Appalachian mountains.  That was the thing about this band: whatever they did felt sincere and totally authentic. Towards the beginning of one of the songs, frontman Ian Felice drawled “I’m not preaching, I’m just talking…this is how I talk.”

Well then Felice Brothers, it was good talking with you. Let’s do it again sometime.

– Emmery Brakke
– Photos by Isabel Alcantara [MORE UNDER THE JUMP!]

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