Portugal. The Man Remind Portland, Frances Changed Their Lives (A Gallery)
On Saturday evening, Portugal. The Man reminded their chosen hometown, Portland, Ore., that Frances changed their lives. The band, known for their smash hit “Feel It Still,” put on a block party to raise research funds for DHDDS, a rare genetic mutation that causes a degenerative disease that affects the band’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist John Gourley and his wife, vocalist, Zoe Manville’s daughter, Frances.
“Frances is almost 12 years old. We first started to notice something wrong when she was three and had some speech and other developmental delays. What started as seemingly subtle delays eventually turned into seizures, random loss of consciousness, and a list of metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases,” Portugal. The Man presented in a press release that preluded Saturday’s gathering.
“While there was no hope for a cure a decade ago, medical science is now in the experimental phases of developing a treatment. Unfortunately, because this genetic mutation is incredibly rare, it receives very little research funding,” they continued.
They went on to share their goal, “We’re accepting donations from those able to help fund Frances’ treatment, and any money raised beyond the cost of her treatment will go toward funding the gene therapy research that could have cured her as a child.”
The event started around 3 p.m., Sept. 16, with a series of DJ and live music sets that came before the headliner’s sunset performance. After acknowledgment and thanks, each member strode out to their designated spots on the stage, jumping into the first pulsating instrumental movements, which showed off their individual prowess and collective vigor. From the get-go, the band’s energy was at a high, understanding they were there for a much greater mission than music.
After running through their initial choice songs, the guest of honor made her (first of many) stage appearance, joining her parents and bellowing into the microphone a round of encouraging messages that ignited a wave of excitement amongst the multi-generational crowd, ranging from: “Are you ready to rock?” to an emphasized, “I can’t hear you!” In addition to Frances’ energy-driven rally, she helped with lyrics, adding lines, and shared the microphone with mom, Manville.
Amongst an evening of many highs, a favored music moment had to be Portugal. The Man’s take on “So American.” The crowd matched the band’s enthusiasm, from the first round of “Who broke the rules,” which inevitably crashed into the chorus and flanked by blazing instrumentals. As the set continued, the band proved what it means to find a flow and complement each other’s strengths while moving through the songs as a cohesive unit of unabashed players.
While music has the power to unite people (and that it did), the mission to raise awareness and research funds carried the course of the night. Of late, Portugal. The Man have been supporting latest project, Chris Black Changed My Life, released on June 23, 2023. The LP and limited edition merchandise are available for purchase now.
To learn more about Frances Changed My Life and donate to support research funds for DHDDS, visit this link.
Scroll down to view photos courtesy of Hana Gustafson.