Tag Archives: Innerspeaker

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Tame Impala Take Sold-Out Crowd on Unpredictable Trip

February 20th, 2013

Tame Impala – Terminal 5 – February 19, 2013


Of all the considerable rock-band exports from Australia, it appears that Perth’s Tame Impala will fall much closer to AC/DC on the spectrum of greatness rather than, say, Jet. Having released two critically acclaimed albums, the band kicked off a North American tour to celebrate, starting off things last night with a sold-out show at Terminal 5. The set was as psychedelic, dreamy, fuzzy and trippy as one would expect, although the band had some tricks up their sleeves to make sure some elements remained unpredictable.

“Apocalypse Dreams,” the night’s first song, was played with a completely false ending: Following applause and a drawn-out pause from the band, the quintet surprised everyone by jumping back into an extended jam on the outro. They employed this trick again during “Elephant,” but instead of jumping back in after the applause for a lengthy guitar jam, they played just two short measures before suddenly concluding the tune. It’s like Tame Impala knew when their songs’ momentum was all but unstoppable, so they’d tease the audience by stopping—knowing full well the crowd couldn’t wait for it to continue.

For all the guitar effects Tame Impala are known for, there is impressively little difference in sound between the band in studio and live, in part thanks to Kevin Parker’s impressive barefoot dexterity. Taking the term shoegaze to a whole new level, the frontman adjusted knobs and settings on a massive guitar-pedal board using just his bare toes (sometimes even in the middle of a riff). The band returned for their encore to play “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control” live for the first time ever. And you won’t find a more perfect song title with which to end a show. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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An Australian Band Grows on the Road

April 26th, 2011

Tame Impala – Webster Hall – April 26, 2011

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A glowing green dot waited patiently in the middle of a panel of screens. And like the gathered crowd, it had come for Tame Impala. But starting from the band’s opening song, it began to mutate. The dot became circles and the circles pulsated to the music. For some, these oscillating shapes simply occupied the background, disregarded as a trippy distraction. This perspective, however, seems to miss the point entirely. Psychedelic rock is wholly sensory, visual field included. And experiencing Tame Impala’s music is linked to seeing it transform.

Monday night’s sold-out show at Webster Hall is part of this young band’s transformation. As they continue to tour behind their excellent debut album, Innerspeaker, studio arrangements are changing, as is their stage presence. When I first saw this band in the fall, they seemed rigid and nervous. Each band member stuck to an assigned part, delivering carbon copies of songs from the album. Now, evident from narcotized renditions of “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?” and “Solitude Is Bliss,” they are keen to explore new possibilities.

The first three songs (the aforementioned two plus “It Is Not Meant to Be”) felt slower by a few BPMs and sound manipulation rather than technical trickery filled improvisational gaps. A cover of Massive Attack’s “Angel” even sneaked into the set list, something not done before according to lead guitarist and vocalist Kevin Parker. And with a looser yet engaged attitude complementing their dreamscape melodies, Tame Impala appears up to the task of reinvigorating psychedelia. —Jared Levy

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Tame Impala Stays True

November 19th, 2010

Tame Impala – The Bowery Ballroom – November 18, 2010

(Photo: Jared Levy)

(Photo: Jared Levy)

As a sold-out crowd packed into The Bowery Ballroom last night, four slender young people quietly took the stage. If they were trying to buy beer, you would have carded them. But on this night, the age and modest presence of Tame Impala’s members only set to underscore the impressive lineage of the band’s influences and sound. Their debut album, Innerspeaker, is comprised of ’60s-style psychedelic rock recently revived by bands like Dungen and Oh No Ono. Described by lead guitarist and vocalist Kevin Parker as “a steady flowing psychedelic groove-rock band that emphasizes dream-like melody,” Tame Impala crafts songs that tap into the spirit of the Beatles circa Sgt. Pepper’s and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

At first the timid bunch, looking like the cast of Dazed and Confused, moved quickly through album opener “It’s Not Meant to Be” and their first single, “Solitude Is Bliss.” Be it jet lag or jitters, the band looked uneasy at the beginning of their set. However, Parker soon picked up the energy with his effected guitar solos and trance-inducing vocals, and by the time the group got to “Lucidity” and “Expectation,” he had unassumingly lost his voice, which did little to detract from the vocal melodies and perhaps led to the eventual emphasis on instrumentals.

During these extended breakdowns, bassist Nick Allbrook and drummer Jay Watson created a pulsating, hypnotic rhythm section that fueled their psychedelic jams. This, matched with a frantic visualizer projected on the screen behind the band, aimed to evoke the mind-altering state associated with their music’s tradition. And, in the moments where all four members locked into a steady groove, they seemed truest to themselves and their sound. Eventually, even their most stoic member, guitarist Dominic Simper, loosened up and smiled. —Jared Levy

(Tonight’s Tame Impala show at The Bowery Ballroom is sold out.)