Radio 104.5 Block Party with Vance Joy, & Portugal. The Man
The Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party series closed out the Summer on a fantastic Sunday afternoon, August 20, at Festival Pier. As always, Radio 104.5 highlighted local talent with opening act ‘The Groove Merchants’. This Kutztown, Pennsylvania based band kicked things off with their soulful style, mixing the guitar work of Luke Ferracone and the big sound of their horn section (led by Dylan Hinnershitz). The crowd was still small at this point in the show but those who were there seemed to really enjoy the style that The Groove Merchants brought to the stage.
Following a short break, Mike Jones of Radio 104.5 came out to introduce ‘The Outdoor Type’ to the stage. This Australian band has a quintessential 80s soft-rock vibe throughout songs like ‘Are You Happy’. The beautiful blend of electric and acoustic guitars with some harmonica made The Outdoor Type the perfect band to enjoy on a beautiful sunny day. They closed out their set with their current single, ‘On My Mind’, with which the crowd seemed to be most familiar.
Things heated up from here both on and off the stage. By the time ‘Judah and the Lion’ struck the first chords on the mandolin the crowd had more than doubled in size from the opening set. The matted area in front of the stage was now impassable as young girls packed in to see Judah do his thing. The band wasted no time getting the crowd going as they opened with their hit, ‘Suit & Jacket’. Seeing these guys up close was a lot of fun. They clearly were having a good time and wanted the crowd to be a part of it as well. Besides the taste of great music, the band also gave the crowd a little bit of a male revue with members lining the front of the stage for a dance and some booty shaking. It’s clear these guys have their stage show down pat. Of course, they closed things down with their other big hit, ‘Take It All Back’. Rather than leave the stage the same way they had entered, Judah and Brian did a crowd surfing race to the Miller Lite beer tent at the back of the venue. The crowd loved it and the women were more than happy to pass these two boys around.
The excitement grew from there as ‘Portugal. The Man.’ got set to take the stage. Everyone was excited about this band and their huge hit of the summer, ‘Feel It Still’. To the surprise of many in the crowd, the band took the stage to a fantastic cover of Metallica’s ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. There is no doubt these guys can really play the guitar; the music was spot on and the jam didn’t stop there. They went into a Pink Floyd cover as well before sliding into their hit, ‘Purple Yellow Red and Blue’. John Gourley and the boys then gave the crowd what they were dying for and played, ‘Feel it Still’. While the band didn’t make political statements with their words, John and Eric both were sporting ‘Lords of Portland’ t-shirts which feature a large No Nazis symbol on the back. It’s clear these guys had more than music on their minds but the statement was welcomed and not a distraction from their show. The music was more guitar oriented than I think most of the crowd expected but before leaving the stage they surprised everyone with a second round of Feel it Still. It was only fitting as that song is deservedly in heavy rotation this Summer.
Finally, the ladies got what they had come for: Vance Joy. All eight feet of him took the stage to the screams of the young ladies. In the photo pit, we heard several pledges of undying love for the big man. Vance Joy didn’t disappoint, his vocals were fantastic throughout his hour long set. Being a guitarist and singer kept him fairly still on the stage but the music was more than enough for the crowd. Song after song, he delivered one hit after another. Opening with ‘Mess is Mine’ and working through ‘Wasted Time’ and ‘Lay it on Me’, he had the crowd singing along with every word. Clearly, this crowd had come out for Joy first and foremost. Joy managed to flash his charming smile to the crowd giving the ladies an acknowledgement for all their catcalls throughout the set. Vance Joy wrapped up his set (and the show) with, ‘Fire and the Flood’, and then the obvious closer, ‘Riptide’.
All in all, it was a great lineup of some up and coming bands early in the day, and solid, polished performers on the back end. Once again Radio 104.5 showed that they know their audience and put together a cohesive lineup of performers that gave the crowd a great wrap up to Summer. We rank the day as a great success. It was a beautiful afternoon weather-wise and the music was all that you could ask for, especially when you consider they did it all at no cost to the fans.
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[Photos by Michael Green]
[Article by Michael Green and David Miller]
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