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10th April 2008
Portishead are a trip-hop group from Bristol, England, named after the nearby town of the same name, 12 miles (19 km) west of Bristol.
The band was formed in Bristol, UK in 1991, by Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons and Adrian Utley. Previously, Barrow had been working as a tape operator (including work with Massive Attack and Tricky), Gibbons was singing in pubs, and Utley had played jazz guitar for Big John Patton and The Jazz Messengers. The trio created the short film To Kill a Dead Man, which was heavily inspired by espionage films, and its accompanying soundtrack persuaded Go! Beat Records to sign the band.
Dummy Portishead's first album, Dummy, was released in 1994 and the first single was 'Numb'. In spite of the band's aversion to press coverage, the album was successful in both Europe and the United States (where it sold more than 150,000 copies even before the band toured there).
Dummy spawned two hit singles, "Glory Box" and "Sour Times", and went on to win the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in 1995.
After their initial success, Portishead withdrew from the spotlight for three years until their second album, Portishead, was released in 1997. The album's sound differed from Dummy, the main differences being that much of the music was composed and played by the band, not sampled from records, and had a grainy, harsher sound. Three singles, "Cowboys", "Over" and "All Mine" were released, the latter achieving a Top 10 placing in the UK.
Portishead are playing Hammersmith Apollo on the 10th April and Carling Academy Brixton 17th April 2008.