Last time I saw Tame Impala was in the pouring rain at the Melbourne leg of Parklife. It was the day after their unbelievable sophomore effort Lonerism had been dropped here and the crowd of fans, most of which no doubt bought the ticket, like myself, just to see Tame Impala unveil some new tracks in a live context.
Unsurprisingly, the second record translated fantastically to the live setting with the three singles they played at the festival integrating well with the older material.
Prior to Parklife, it had been about two years since we had the pleasure of a performance from Tame Impala. I had to make sure I caught them again before I lost the opportunity.
This time around, I was off to catch Kevin Parker and his band at the Forum on Flinders St, a full gig in a beautiful theatre – befitting of Tame Impala.
The Growl had the unenviable task of opening up for, arguably, Australia’s best rock band. They did so with gusto however, as their odd set up featuring a double bass and two drum kits moseyed out on stage. If you combined Grizzly Bear with the White Stripes you’d get The Growl and it’s pretty great. The ferocity of every track they played was exemplified and contrasted with their classy and reserved frontman who did little more than stand in front of the microphone, hands in his pockets, and let his incredible voice resonate. A real highlight of their set came in the form of a wizened old cover of “John the Revelator”.
As Tame Impala got to the stage, the entire crowd began to whisper the hook of “Gotta Be Above It”, which opened the show. Behind them a projection of a fluorescent, green ,kind of static was hooked to Parker’s guitar meaning that whenever he strummed the frenetic visual display would go into a chaotic fit. Without pause for breath the band burst into “Solitude is Bliss” followed by “Endors Toi”.
As a group, Tame Impala don’t really run around the stage like stereotypical rock bands – they aren’t going to be smashing guitars here folks. Rather they let the swirling, psychedelic nature of their music do the talking. Not one note seemed out of place all night as they continued through a set of hits.
The band paused midway through the show to thank the crowd for being the first concert to sell out Australia wide and as a thank you, they jumped into “Elephant”, lead single of Lonerism which they followed with my favourite track by the band “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”. The track was quite out of step with “Elephant – one being synth driven and the other having a thumping, pedaling bass.
Heading towards the end of the main set, there was no pause for break as we were treated to “Lucidity” and “Desire Be Desire Go” from the band’s debut record. The crowd had been in a bedazzled sway all evening, it was only when these rockin’ tracks got into the stride that the mosh pit erupted into a more energetic incarnation.
Two keyboards set the mood for the final song of the main set – “Apocalypse Dreams” – which was an explosion of sound when extended from its regular five minute length to a ten minute jam.
After walking off stage the band teased us with one more song, having various aspects of the stage light up depending on the enthusiasm of the audience. Eventually we appeased our gods and Tame Impala sauntered back on stage for a hectic rendition of “Half Full Glass of Wine” from their extended play.
Upon its conclusion the audience stood in a sort of disbelief for a while, before filing out of the theatre. Tame Impala had just blown all of our minds and all I can hope is that I don’t have to wait another two years for a tour.
Gotta Be Above It
Solitude Is Bliss
It’s Not Meant to Be
Music to Walk Home By
Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?
Desire Be Desire Go
Half Full Glass of Wine