Portishead

7 April 2008 @ Heineken Music Hall
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Portishead with Kling Klang

Portishead is a band from Bristol, England, named after the small coastal town of Portishead (‘Pore-tiss-hed’, with a hard ‘s’ in the middle), 12 miles west of Bristol. They are an important part of the trip-hop scene which started in Bristol in the 90’s. With their tasteful use of live jazz samples and intentionally lo-fi sound, the band has been cited as influential by many modern musicians including guitarist Wes Borland, Hip-Hop star Kanye West, Evanescence and underground producer DJ DangerMouse.

The band was formed in 1991, by keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Geoff Barrow and singer Beth Gibbons. Barrow had previously worked with two other trip hop bands from Bristol, Massive Attack and Tricky, and decided to name his new endeavour after his hometown.

After releasing a short film (To Kill A Dead Man) and its accompanying music, Portishead signed a record deal with Go! Beat and their first album, Dummy, was released in 1994, and featured heavy contributions from guitarist Adrian Utley. In spite of the band’s media-shyness, the album gained universal critical acclaim and was successful on both sides of the Atlantic, spawning two hit singles, “Glory Box” and “Sour Times”. The album won the British Mercury Music Prize in 1995 beating albums such as ‘Definitely Maybe’ by Oasis and Leftfield’s ‘Leftism’. Portishead has often been used as accompanying music in the media. Such examples include car adverts, Channel 4 intermissions and the teenage drama series Sugar Rush. (read more)

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