Gig Reviews

Tame Impala – Enmore Theatre, Sydney 13/12/2012

Well, it’s been one hell of a year for Tame Impala. With critically acclaimed sets stemming from appearances at both Parklife and Homebake festivals, the band quickly became a hometown favourite. However, it was their poll position on NME’s Album of the Year for Lonerism that made the Perth outfit Australia’s most valuable musical asset. Their sold-out performance at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre not only was a manifestation of their popularity, but justification for their year of whirlwind success. And with the year coming to a close, it’s clear that they are the best Australian export in some time.

Entering the smokey halls of the Enmore to the blues-infused sounds of support The Growl set the tone for the next hour. The husky yet dominate vocals accompanied with roacus guitar riffs made for a distinctively unique sound, somewhat refreshing in today’s era. Playing tracks from their own EPs, the frontman proudly announced their impending 2013 album release before breaking into a cover of 1940’s blues songs. They are most definitely a band to watch over the coming years.

With the support act done, and roadies finished, there only remained one thing: Tame Impala. Casually strolling onto the stage to the musky smell of weed and excitement, the quintet were quick to begin, opening with recent track Gotta Be Above It. The audience were quick to respond, assisting the recent addition to the live band, sticksman Julien Barbagallo, with backing vocals. The hypnotic guitar continued to echo through the theatre as they powered through a setlist comprising of tracks both new and old.

Smashing through the likes of Solitude is Bliss, Endors Toi and It’s Not Meant To Be, the creative and dynamic power of the band was clear. As each song turned into an extended jam with infectious guitar solos and simple yet effective lighting, the crowd longed for more. It was as if the band were teasing the sea of moving bodies. However, it was clear from the first note of that infamous bass line that they would pull out all stops for their latest single. Elephant was always going to cause some sort of frenzy; however, neither the audience nor band expected what followed next. With miniature circle pits emerging, the energy throughout the Enmore was absolutely electrifying.

The mood calmed down somewhat as the band progressed through songs from both albums, transitioning smoothly into Feels Like We Only Go Backwards, arguably the highlight from this year’s release. The now illuminated crowd briefly ceased their antics to observe the musical talent that stood before them. The band that led the charge of alternative Australian music into the unknown musical abyss of the global market justified not only their recent success, but their talent. However, this special moment was very brief, ruined by two idiotic stage divers who seemed immensely amused with their actions even though one young girl was seriously injured. Condemning the stage divers, the Perth group then continued through their tracks, arriving finally at the encore.

After they briefly left the stage, the boys were quickly ushered back onto the stage by deafening screams for one more song, and boy did they deliver. An extensive, ten-minute rendition of Half Full Glass of Wine saw the band showcase their individual musical talent. The experimental recreations and expansions of their own original material, not only present within the encore, but throughout the entire show, is one of Tame Impala’s most desirable live aspects. The creativity that differentiates them from a majority of other popular rock acts is one of the key reasons behind their success, and will continue to aid their popularity as the years roll by. Godspeed Tame Impala, you’ve done us all proud.

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