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PORTLAND, Ore. — The thousands of people who packed into Pioneer Courthouse Square on Saturday for the Portland March for Our Lives rally were treated to a fun show to close out the event.
Portland natives, and Grammy Award-winning band, Portugal. The Man played a short set to support the student-led march.
"We’re here to lend our support to your movement," guitarist Eric Howk told the audience. "This is a crowd that represents incredible bravery and progress."
The band played for about 20 minutes and were joined for one song by a special guest: Black Thought from The Roots.
The band also played their international hit "Feel It Still."
KGW got a chance to go behind the scenes to talk to band members about why they decided to lend their voices to the cause.
“I have a daughter myself and it’s just seeing kids scared. You don’t want to see kids afraid. You don’t want to see kids dealing with what they’re dealing with,” said John Gourley, lead singer and guitarist with Portugal. The Man.
Student organizer, 18-year-old Alexandria Goddard, said they’re grateful for the band’s support.
“We didn’t even reach out. We didn’t even know they were in town. They reached out to us and asked if we would allow them to play,” said Goddard.
She said the band was even generous enough to pay half of the sound bill.
“It really shows us that the adults have got our back. They’re on our side,” said Finn Jacobson, another student organizer who is 14 years old.
Band members said they hoped the kids felt supported.
“If we have any voice, it’s just to lend support. Otherwise we’re here to bolster them and get out of the way, changing of the guard. This is beautiful,” said Eric Howk.
“I don’t know what I was doing at their age, but it wasn’t anything close to this and it’s a beautiful thing. It’s really amazing,” said bass player Zach Carothers.
Gourley said the student-lead demonstration drew a bigger crowd that the band had ever drawn.
“This is huge,” he said.
Student organizers are hoping all the people showing up in Portland, and across the country, will help them enact change.
“I’m doing this because I have no choice and I have to get out here and make a change,” said Jacobson.
You can watch the full 20-minute set in the video below. Skip to the 2-hour, 16-minute mark.