Tame Impala started out as the recording project of shy Perth native Kevin Parker and has gone on to impress international crowds after laps around the States and the UK. Despite having wrapped up their sold-out national tour just six months ago, Tame Impala have upped the ante, moving away from the Enmore to the Hordern Pavilion, the capacity of which triples that of the former.
Sharing the stage tonight is Melbourne dance trio Midnight Juggernauts. Last time Tame toured, they had an incredible support act in The Growl – a tough gig to follow. Drummer Daniel Stricker is placed smack bang front and centre of stage, an odd choice – but then he gets a solo, and his placement becomes clear. The relentless rhythm drove the electronica three-piece from track to track, with each song sounding more like an intergalactic space jam than the last.
New tracks were played to a rather tentative crowd, but when the old gems such as Shadows and Into The Galaxy resurfaced, you could sense the nostalgia in the room, induced by the cosmic synths. Vincent Vendetta and Andrew Szekeres provided some typically brilliant moments with their expansive vocal range, but as a whole the performance lacked consistency. Though Midnight Juggernauts are undoubtedly fun – and the receptiveness of the crowd was visible – their set might do with a bit of tightening. They just don’t sound as good live as they do on a CD. Whatever their stage show lacked, however, the Melbourne lads made up for with genuine enthusiasm and endearing stage banter.
By the time Tame Impala walked on stage, the crowd were sufficiently primed for the swathes of drowning drones ahead. The live lineup consisted of five band members, whose entrance was met by drawn-out, raucous cheers, bringing a smile to Parker’s face. Things kick off when we heard the familiar drum and keys intro of Apocalypse Dreams, the first track from critically acclaimed sophomore album, Lonerism. Everyone knew the words and threw their arms wildly in the air, punctuated by outbursts of interpretative dance, suspicious whiffy fumes and exclamations of “I’m so fucking drunk!” from the relatively fresh-faced all-ages crowd.
It’s Not Meant To Be was next, closely followed by old favourites Expectation and, of course, Solitude is Bliss. Despite being a known perfectionist, Parker injected some spontaneity into the set with trance-like spaced-out jamming in between songs, which lulled the crowd into a hypnotic state aided by the psychedelic visuals projected on the screen behind them. Elephant launched with a throbbing riff, sending everyone into a headbanging delirium.
Glass Half Full of Wine closed the show, which again demonstrated how well Parker writes unforgettable riffs, now drilled into the memory of every loyalist. The band took the tune to new heights, giving it a new destructive and relentless energy on stage. Before the lads had even walked off stage there were already calls for an encore.
They came back shortly to perform one last song, Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control (what a mother of a song title!) This was the live premiere of the tune, and they won over the crowd once again with the hypnotic layers of synths and Parker’s trademark falsetto.
Tame Impala’s set was performed with a sincerity and modesty rare for a band that has reached these dizzying heights in such a short space of time. The Perth natives have really consolidated their status as a live band; the musicality displayed by each of the band members was incredible, with reverbs filling the whole room and absorbing the crowd with it. It would have been very difficult for anyone not to enjoy themselves and, judging by the crowd, the few people who did would have been wholly outnumbered.
Photos: Tame Impala – Hordern Pavillion, Sydney, 02/03/13