Thursday, 20 December 2012

Tame Impala at the Enmore Theatre

Tame Impala have done their fair share of live performances - at festivals, concert halls and even television studios - but it never seems that the band is sick of playing their music live. For a group with only two albums worth of songs, it doesn't leave much room for changing the set list. However, Tame Impala's performance at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney re-created the distinct nostalgic yet contemporary atmosphere which characterises their music.

Kevin Parker and his band appeared in the darkness as silhouettes, outlined by the vivid back lighting among a haze of smoke on stage. It was a dramatic opening, and didn't seem to bother the crowd who was clearly happy enough to listen to the music without worrying too much about what was going on on stage.

There was a welcome mix of tracks from their latest album Lonerism, 2009 debut Innerspeaker and even pre-album days with 'Half Full Glass of Wine' closing the set in an extended outro. Despite the fact that most of the lyrics were lost in the instrumentals and reverb, there were plenty of sing-a-long moments (especially 'Feels Like We Only Go Backwards'). It seems that the Tame Impala music does well in a dark, enclosed space although it can't begin to feel any spacier after a few of their psychedelic tracks.

After a string of live performances in the second half of 2012, it's clear that the band has become a very cohesive unit with a seamless show and energetic impro at parts. Their music existing on the album is very produced and so it's great to be able to see the band emulate the deep, sonic feeling of the recorded version. What is great about a live show is the jamming in-between tracks - Parker knew how to keep his audience on the hook with jazzed-up breaks in the middle of hits such as 'Lucidity' and 'Elephant' showcasing the experimental scope of a live Tame Impala.

After a few rambunctious moments in the crowd - stage-diving and circling in a pit - Kevin tried to calm everyone down and most people got back to either swaying along with the hypnotic tunes or dancing frenetically immersed in  bass-driven jams. Although their music is something utterly unique in the Australian scene, it would have been nice for the band to leave some space in between tracks but it's clear that they're not out there to promote a personality or chat up the audience. Never mind the bass player and hair-thrashing drummer keeping to themselves. Let it be.

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