Portishead Return To America After 13 Years

By Joseph Giannone 2011-07-13 21:30:12
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The British are known for birthing some of the most innovative music acts of the past 60 years. Across the Atlantic Ocean, there are even some groups that test our credibility as musicians over here in the states. Bands like: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Zombies and The Kinks had all captivated American audiences, proving that the English are a force to be reckoned with. Most of the famous bands in the 60’s were English bread, except for those folk stars, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, though the “Old Man” hit-maker was Canadian. Even today’s acts like Radiohead, Muse, Franz Ferdinand, Spiritualized, Chemical Brothers, Coldplay are from, well, you already know. Britain has some serious musical superiority over us, and those who say otherwise will be shunned by proper music aficionados.

There is one act though that hasn’t been mentioned on my list, and most fans will consider them to be just as influential on American audiences as the prior. Portishead, after a 13 year hiatus, are finally returning to the states to show Americans how good music is played. After a 6 year halt in the trip-hop group’s career, they finally joined back together in 2005 to play mostly random shows here or there. It hasn't been up until now that the folks who made Psychedelic Hip-hop famous are touring in America.

Speaking about why after all these years they are coming back to the states, mutli-instrumentalist Adrian Utley said in a press release:

We've always thought that we must come back to tour in the States, something we wanted to do with the release of 'Third,' but our schedule just wouldn't allow it. Being that we were asked to curate I'll Be Your Mirror [Festival], this just seemed like a good start to touring the states -- it sets it off in absolutely the right way. We are absolutely delighted to come back.


For most of you who don’t know Portishead, or even what “trip-hop” is, there is quite an easy explanation of what the genre and this band entails. Instead of the musicians using normal techniques in overlying traditional instruments with singing, bands like Portishead use other means of creating a cosmic sound. Vocalist Beth Gibbons adds a unique texture to her band's electronic beat base songs that cascade into a psychedelic orchestra of sounds, synthesizers, drums, loops, guitars and her own spacey vocal styling. Other groups that have customized their sound to fall into this unique category of music have been Gorillaz, Massive Attack and Archive.

The tour is in support of their most recent album, 2008’s Third. The first Portishead tour dates in the U.S. will begin at Asbury Park, N.J. for the I'll Be Your Mirror festival, held on Oct. 1, with the supporting act Thought Forms. The tickets will go on sale for only two days, July 15 and 16, with a limited amount being sold via the band's website. Are you as excited for Portishead’s return as the other trip-hop junkies?
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