A relaxed, playful, happy vibe permeated Portland’s Doug-fir Lounge Saturday night during a rare appearance of British alternative folk-rock band World Party.

Fortunately for concert-goers, the venue was comfortably full but offered a little extra elbow-room beneficial to the ambience of the music – as opposed to, let’s say, some shows when it’s hard to view either musicians or the stage.

In former times, World Party consisted of a few more members but these days the band is comprised of three very fine musicians: lead singer Karl Wallinger, guitarist John Turnbull (Nick Lowe, Eurythmics), and David Duffy, violin and mandolin.

WParty

The band opened with “Waiting Such a Long Long Time” from their 2012 Arkeology release.

At Saturday night’s show, the band’s pitch-perfect harmonies and the talented Duffy’s melodic violin solos were crowd-pleasing and captivating.

Other  highlights: Wallinger on keyboards during “She’s the One,” a rousing electric guitar jam on “Vanity Fair,” and the funky, rich retro- rock sounds of “What is Love All About.”

What is Love All About?

Also included: “All Come True,” “God on My Side,” and the musically Beatlesque “Call Me Up.”

About World Party

World Party was formed in 1986 by Karl Wallinger after leaving British folk-rock band The Waterboys.

Born in Wales, Wallinger is an accomplished musician on keyboards and guitar, a masterful songwriter whose influences include The Beatles, Beach Boys and Dylan.

“Goodbye Jumbo” was World Party’s second release; it contained two minor UK hit singles: “Put the Message in the Box” and the high-spirited Rolling Stones-ish “Way Down Now.”

Their popular third album “Bang” reached number two on the UK Albums Chart and produced lovely hit-single “Is It Like Today.”

Is It Like Today?

Unfortunately, in 2001 World Party’s gifted frontman Wallinger was hospitalized with a brain aneurysm that took 5 years of rehabilitation.

In 2012, the band released a five-CD collection of previously unreleased material. These days, Wallinger seems relaxed and happy, enthusiastically switching from guitar to keyboards and often conversing with fans during his setlist.

“Sunshine,” “Way Down Now” round out the night

Also at Saturday night’s show: the band’s performance of “Sunshine” was delightful; they were also joined by Gabriel Kelley – who opened the show for them – on harmonica in a ferocious jam during “Who Are You.”

Fans sang along on the expertly-performed  “Ship of Fools” and insisted on an encore – which the band happily provided in the form of “Mystery Girl” and their lovable foot-stomping “Way Down Now.”

Here’s hoping World Party returns to Portland soon – don’t miss them!

You can find their music on iTunes.

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