Concert Review + Photography: The Lonely Forest at Newport Music Hall (Columbus, OH)

Portugal. The Man (Portland, OR), The Lonely Forest (Anacortes, WA), Bonneville (Columbus, OH)
April 25th, 2012
Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH

Each year, the Jagermeister Music Tour snakes its way through the US.  This year, up and coming alternative act The Lonely Forest (previously reviewed on Mezzic) was lucky enough to be chosen as the direct support for Portugal. The Man.  The four piece band played a set that was earnest, humble, and genuine.  They seemed genuinely glad to be there, and performed in an atypical arrangement, with frontman John Van Deusen holding down the fort on guitar stage right, albeit half-blocked from view from a set of turntables (not his – more on that later).  The ironically hopeful “Woe Is Me (I’m Ruined)” opened their set, followed quickly by their best known hit “Turn Off This Song and Go Outside.”  At this point the continuity between the live performances and recorded music became apparent.  Pulling off vocals that sound the same live as recorded is rare!  The drummer (who bears resemblance of a skinnier version of LOST actor Jorge Garcia) had an opportunity to show off during the diverse “Tunnels,” and Van Deusen’s sheepish introduction of “a song about Coyotes” elevated the audiences already joyous mood.

Portugal. The Man played a long set, with light globes filling the panorama of the stage area to enhance the already trippy atmosphere created by the haze created by stage smoke and no-shame pot smokers in the pit.  Their musicianship and banter, along with their impeccable falsetto vocals especially shone.

Columbus’ own Bonneville opened this date of the tour, looking like they stepped out of the movie “That Thing You Do!” Where’s Tom Hanks when you need him? Anyway, this group was full of energy, and plainly has the potential to break out of the Columbus scene in the next few years.  They’ve been requested frequently on local alternative station CD101, making the afternoon’s top request show among the genre heavyweights.  Oh, and Ryan Pitts is a great frontman!

One last thing – whoever organized this tour should not place a mediocre DJ who only mixes cliché alternative hits and oldies between sets, whose set-up also limits stage visibility on a tour like this.  Please and thank you.





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