Tag Archives: Kevin Parker

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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

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Tame Impala on 2/19

February 12th, 2013

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Kevin Parker’s psychedelic quintet, Tame Impala, are still touring behind the fantastic Lonerism album, which brings them to Terminal 5 next Tuesday. And like most of the shows on their tour, this, too, is sold out. But you may be in luck because The House List is giving away two tickets. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Tame Impala, 2/19) and a brief message explaining the virtues of psychedelic rock and why you deserve to see these Aussie rockers. Eddie Bruiser, a big Tame Impala fan, will notify the winner by next Tuesday. Good luck.

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A Band of the Moment

November 12th, 2012

Tame Impala – Webster Hall – November 13, 2012


The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a struggle for many in the New York City region, so by the time this past weekend rolled around, pretty much everyone was having a “Calgon, take me away!” moment. And as if on cue, Tame Impala had arrived for two sold-out shows, wrapping up Saturday night at a smoke-filled Webster Hall, where they proved to be the perfect band to transport an audience away from reality.

Working heavily on material from their acclaimed new album, Lonerism, it didn’t really seem to matter which tune Tame Impala played. A guitar-as-pyschedelic-lute number was a magic-carpet ride to a mythical Arabia; a synth-and-theramin-driven one a Narnian wardrobe; a torrent of off-meter drumming a tornado to Oz; buzzing bass notes laced a time-traveling DeLorean; two guitars crashed together to bring the crowd to Platform 9¾; and midway through the set, a sublime version of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” had otherworldly vocals and keyboards tugging the audience en masse down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. All the while the screens behind the band pulsed with hallucinogenic shapes and colors. This was a band of the moment, working at the height of its powers.

From there, it was through the looking glass with glorious extended instrumental sections punctuating the second half of the set, time stretching like taffy under the power of the music. The unique psychedelia of Tame Impala’s sound brought a surprising amount of groove for the crowd to latch onto, making sure that both mind and body were under its sway. Even barefooted frontman Kevin Parker wasn’t immune to the gravity his music generated—gyrating and lying down, entranced, onstage late in the show. The encore was a single piece that seemed to wrap up the main themes of the night, with sonar-pinging guitar making way for a long, enhanced jam with multiple ideas and an ecstatic building climax that threatened to unmoor the club completely from reality. For better or worse, though, the heels of the ruby slippers tapped, the smoke cleared and the show was over. Reality beckoned. —A. Stein 

 

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Tame Impala Impresses at Music Hall of Williamsburg

August 8th, 2012

Tame Imapala – Music Hall of Williamsburg – August 7, 2012


It’s not often an Australian band plays a one-off gig in New York City with little warning, but if any group could pull off such a maneuver, it’d be Perth’s Tame Impala. Indeed, the sold-out crowd waited in a long line outside Music Hall of Williamsburg last night for a chance to see Tame Impala perform a set full of “How’d they do that?” moments. Opening with “Solitude Is Bliss,” the quintet quickly set the tone with layered compositions giving way to long stretches that balanced between prog-rock orchestration and ecstatic improvisation. Behind the band was projected an old school green CRT oscilloscope that seemed to go in and out of phase with the music, tracing complicated mathematical representations of the music in real time. The result was a juxtaposition of art and math, with heavy Spirographic jams accompanied by twisted, electric-green floral patterns.

With lead singer Kevin Parker fighting a case of laryngitis, the music dominated. Songs like “It’s Not Meant to Be” joined the two guitars at angles both acute and obtuse. These guitar notes oscillated under sinusoidal bass lines. Despite the scientific precision of the music it was anything but cold and calculated. Indeed, every song was an emotional journey, each telling a story with darker moody passages followed by ecstatic, building climaxes. The whole set seemed to follow a similar arc: dozens of musical ideas neatly packed like beautifully ornate Russian nesting dolls, and the crowd responding with awe as each new moment revealed itself.

The set closed with “Half Glass of Wine” from their 2008 self-titled album. The song started with a darker, churning rock and roll, like a melted-wax version of War’s “Low Rider,” and then veered tangentially into a lighter, in-the-vacuum outer-space jam. A single riff went periodic, spawning new ones in its wake until the whole band built to a focused crescendo that would make your most able jam band nod in appreciation until finally righting itself back into the original rock riff. It was an impressive feat and the audience appreciated it fully, demanding an encore. The band returned to oblige with Parker admitting it was their first time ever granting one. They offered up more of the same majesty with “Runway, Houses, Cities, Clouds,” but likely did little to satisfy a crowd that was undoubtedly filled with people tuning their own oscilloscopes to make sure they’re not asking, “How’d they do that?” the next time Tame Impala comes to town. —A. Stein