Anaheim all-ages club Chain Reaction is broiling with body heat, youthful hormones and the sonic radiation of Portugal. The Man's music. I arrive 20 minutes into their set due to a misjudgment on highway 55, but once at the venue, I'm immediately hit by this humidly tropical blast and promptly swept up in their tumultuous prog-emo rock with bluesy undercurrents. Fans and band members (PTM swell to a septet onstage) are sweating profusely, with the former going ga-ga for and singing along to PTM's songs, which are full of teen drama, flamboyant dynamics and thick, meaty choruses that build a “we're all in this together” feeling.
During the last song of their 80-minute performance, Portugal. The Man shift into spazzy rave-up mode; they fake three endings, seemingly unable to face the thought of walking offstage. Finally, begrudgingly, mercifully for the drenched audience, they call it quits with a suitably exciting, climactic shudder.
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At least 200 people came to see this band on a Wednesday night, and most of them know the words and clap along when inspired. Hair gets matted, shirts darken with sweat, dances get danced, visages get etched with exhilaration, hands wave in the air like they just don't care. Several people here surely went home thinking this was the BEST! SHOW! EVAR! of their young lives. Many wet fingers tapped out text messages likely to that effect with impressive enthusiasm as the house lights went up.