Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Portishead at Hammerstein Ballroom 10/4/11

One word, chill. That was it. This is the only word needed to describe the vibe of the Portishead show. The beats, the voice, the visuals, and especially the crowd- every last thing whether living or synthetic, was chill. We were all there to nod our heads to the beat and listen in dumb silence to the spellbinding siren call of Adrian Utley. The hush that befell the crowd was incredible and rare to behold. I could hear the buzz coming off of the amps. It was like being in a church for a funeral mass! The eager swarms of people packed in to Hammerstein Ballroom would break into respectful adoring applause only when appropriate. Although there were a select few that would call out in the middle of the show for a sense of comic relief- most people kept their mouths shut and their ears open. This is something I don't think I've ever witnessed at a concert before.

The visuals projected on the large screen behind the band added to the overall ambience of the room- hypnotic vortexes of black and white shapes, grotesque cartoons, smoldering sunsets, and Rothko-esque blocks of color pacified and intrigued all in the same instant. It made my less than perfect view more bearable. All those bodies pressed up against each other listening to those chill bass notes and synths was a strange contrast, but one I didn't mind too much. It was a sold out show to the Hammerstein Ballroom on Tuesday night, and it was only by luck and timing that I got to go at all- so, why should I complain? Besides, it was too cool in there to be stressed out.

I wish I could tell you more but I'm getting so relaxed just thinking about the show that it borderlines on apathy and now I don't really feel like writing! I close my eyes and I can still see the eerie dream like projections of the band, the random words scattering across the screen, cartoons, scribblings breathing like they were alive to the rhythm of the music... I can still hear the drone and the beat, I can smell the surprisingly pleasant smell of weed mixed with perfume... as I write this, I can feel my head begin to nod to the beats all over again.

Just, chill.

Set List:


The Rip
Sour Times
Magic Doors
Wandering Star
Machine Gun
Glory Box
Chase The Tear
We Carry On

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