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