Tame Impala @ Hordern Pavilion
Reviewed on Thursday May 2
If there’s one place that you can abandon cultural cringe once and for all, it’s at Sydney’s favourite metal barn on a freezing Thursday. The hangar is already at half capacity when Melbourne’s reigning champs of Weird Electronica Midnight Juggernautstake to the stage. They roar through a stellar set, which includes road tests of new material from their upcoming third record and some firm favourites like ‘Road to Recovery’ and ‘Into The Galaxy’. Having been out of the spotlight for so long, it sometimes felt like this trio had ceased to exist. Tonight proves that they never went anywhere, and that album number three could be the one to make them popular, not just critical darlings.
Facing no such problems of their own is Tame Impala, returning to Sydney for a victory lap to celebrate the entire world liking their latest release at once. Kevin and the boys have never put on a sub-par show in their lives (at least in the eight that I’ve seen) and after navigating teething issues with sound at the start, they’re clearly onto another winner. The Hordern drowns even the best of bands, but Tame Impala have done their homework with their sound guy and their music sounds full, crisp and utterly compelling in a venue seemingly designed to do the opposite. The band also indulged in extended jams, added sections and solos that really indicate how much they enjoy being in a live setting and how spontaneously, awesomely gifted they all are at improvisation.
Watching Tame Impala perform is a reminder that engaging, uplifting gigs can actually be performed with live instruments and vocalists. Parker probably never imagined that a throwaway piece of falsetto like the chorus of ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ would ever be sung back at him by five thousand kids, but he handles it like a pro. We’ve been waiting for some official rock stars in this country who aren’t throwbacks for years. Parker may sound a bit like Lennon, but the band is truly something unique. Who would have thought that an amazing record was only half the story.
BY JONNO SEIDLER