When Kevin Parker, lead singer of Tame Impala, walked out on the stage with his band mates, the crowd went wild, cheering and screaming. Royale, the former opera house, was packed to the brim with sweaty concert goers, the air electric with anticipation and the floor sticky with spilled beer.
“Wow you guys are really excited,” said Parker. “The last place we were at did not give us half as much love as you did”. His banter with the audience was modest and shy, his Australian accent conveying tones of embarrassment, yet pleasure that everyone was having a great time. He seemed to be in disbelief that there were people there to see the band.
Tame Impala is currently on tour for Lonerism, their second studio album. Tame Impala’s psychedelic rock sound is akin to “Tomorrow Never Knows” by the Beatles, but with a modern twist. Parkers’ vocals are reminiscent of John Lennon’s, but they still have a distinct quality, marked by his use of distortion and synth pedals, which make his voice sound dreamy and airy. A source of inspiration for Parker in the making of Lonerism was Todd Rundregen’s A Wizard, A True Star, which has a similar dreamy, other worldly feel to it. While Rundregen’s album seems to be going on an intergalactic journey, getting lost in the vastness that is the universe, Parker’s album is a journey inwards, a venture into his solitary world.
During the band’s set, an incredibly simple, yet stunning light show went on behind them. The dark monitor behind them had a single wiggling green light projected across it, similar to a flat heart rate monitor screen one would find at a hospital. Each of the instruments was sent through a mixer and into an oscilloscope, which turned the sound of the music into an image. In this case, the image was the wiggling green line, which turned into a variety of waves, shapes and curves based on what instrument was being played. This was a key part of the show and added a large amount of dynamism to their overall performance. The most memorable image from the oscilloscope was that of an eye with a spinning iris created from the instrumental parts of “Apocalypse Dreams.”
Tame Impala played a good amount of songs from both their debut album, Innerspeak, as well as Lonerism. The audience enjoyed the mix of both old and new. When “Solitude Is Bliss” was played, a single from Innerspeak, the contentment of the audience was obvious. They all looked very mellow and happy, smiles seen on most of their faces. Tame Impala got fairly experimental throughout the show, extending out the instrumental parts of their songs, just jamming and going with the flow of the music. They were all synchronized and in tune with one another, making for a very solid show.
Before the band launched into a loud, energetic rendering of “Elephant”, a single off of Lonerism, Parker said, “Feel free to go crazy on this one.” Some rowdy people took his comment to heart. There was a ridiculous amount of crowd surfing, sometimes with two or three people surfing at a time. Security had to literally shove people off of the stage on more than one occasion. Parker handled the situation very well however, asking people to enjoy themselves, but not “crash into others skulls.” Perhaps the rowdiness was due to the pent up energy of the concert goers, none of which was relieved by opening band, The Amazing. The Amazing were pretty average and as one crowd member put it, “If you had the expectation of elevator music, it’s okay.”
Tame Impala was the furthest thing from elevator music. The show closed to resounding applause for at least five minutes, leading to an encore. They played just one song off of their first EP Tame Impala, a fantastic rendition of “Half Full Glass of Wine”, leaving the audience slightly tipsy and thirsty for more.