Tame Impala Thrillingly Dazzle in Prospect Park at Celebrate Brooklyn

June 15th, 2016

Tame Impala – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – June 14, 2016

-Tame Impala – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – June 14, 2016

(Photo: Gregg Greenwood)

Walking to Prospect Park last night, one couldn’t help but notice that, even in the heart of Brooklyn, the region is in the throes of full summer bloom, flowers of orange, purple and yellow painting the city in full color. The setting was perfect for the first of two-sold out shows for Tame Impala, whose show is a full-spectrum rainbow of colors and sounds. The evening opened with a deep prog-psych set from Sweden’s Dungen, which featured excellent extended instrumental jams that helped reorient the slowly growing audience from the long entry line to the upcoming immersive experience. Between sets, a Celebrate Brooklyn organizer made some announcements, including a promise that they’d “wait until it was darker” before the headlining set—an important detail.

Over the years, the Tame Impala’s visual show has evolved along with the band’s sound, from a single green oscilloscope CRT to full Technicolor mindfuck. Kevin Parker and his mates opened with the off-center, dreamy “Nangs,” which played more like an intro to the addictive and explosive “Let It Happen,” which blazed three-dimensionally across the park with zippy synthesizers accompanied by hyperactive flashes on the backdrop screen and an extraterrestrial rainbow of lights, everyone in the overjoyed crowd raising their arms in full party mode. Tame Impala have been touring in support of Currents almost constantly for a couple of years now, and they played its songs with a deep mathematical thrill, a new calculus of psychedelic disco. Each number brought new combinations of synth and guitar, mind trip and funk beats, pinks and blues, the low end of the bass seeming to swallow all of Park Slope at points in “Why Won’t They Talk to Me?”

Meanwhile, the visuals grew increasingly chaotic, almost overwhelmingly colorful—in snapshot, these moments were temptingly Instgrammable or Snapchat-worthy. Parker’s banter was limited and to the point: “Are you ready for this next song?” he asked before the band found their stoner-rock roots in “Elephant,” the crowd clearly, almost giddily ready. And then “Let’s keep the party going” for the following “The Less I Know the Better,” Parker singing, “Is this what you want?” while the visuals gave the impression that the audience was somehow inside a spinning disco ball while bass and drums brought a pulsing, thumping funk-down. The show built to its climactic, full-bloomed-flower end that included a euphoric sing-along on the set-highlight, “Eventually,” some more old school psych rock on “Alter Ego,” off 2010’s InnerSpeaker, and the explosive set-closing “Apocalypse Dreams,” which seemed to push the bouquet parts of the spectrum usually unseen by the human eye. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

(Dungen play The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night.)