Tame Impala at the Vic Theatre | Review and photos

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

  • Photograph: Joshua Mellin

    Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

Photograph: Joshua Mellin

Tame Impala | Vic Theatre | March 6, 2013

After seeing Tame Impala at the Vic Theatre last night, listening to their music over headphones or crummy laptop speakers just seems like a waste of time. Kevin Parker and his psych-rock quintet added plenty of studio flourishes to both Innerspeaker and 2012’s Lonerism, giving them more dimension than most contemporary rock albums, but this is a band to see live. Most of the capacity crowd seemed to know that already—the band also sold out the smaller Metro last fall. 


The night opened with a short set from fellow Aussies The Growl. The crew of six shaggy dudes seemed eager to prove themselves as capable openers, and their deconstruction of the blues swung hard at times. The band’s two-drummer gimmick threw up some initial red flags, but the interlocking skewed rhythms provided a solid foundation for some fuzzed out neo-blues. 


Once a glowing green orb was projected on the screen behind the stage, Tame Impala snuck out on stage. Whatever Parker and company might lack in traditional rock showmanship they make up for in volume and musical proficiency. With a sea of pedals at his barefoot disposal, Parker made his guitar sound like a synthesizer, a piece of fried computer hardware, a guitar underwater—pretty much anything but a clean, traditional guitar. 


Rock-solid rhythm section aside, Tame Impala’s enveloping keyboard parts were the stars of the night. Thick washes of textural synth upped the band’s trippiness factor throughout (aided, of course, by the Windows-looking graphics that danced on-screen behind the stage the whole night). For 90 minutes, the quintet ran through most of Lonerism, an album which runs the gamut from breakbeats (“Be Above It”) to warped ‘70s shuffle (“Elephant.”) Both songs drew huge responses from the stoned-seeming audience, especially drummer Julien Barbagallo’s extended solo at the end of “Elephant.” 


For a band so thoroughly based in the studio, Tame Impala had no trouble transferring their woozy psych to the stage. Like good jazz players, the band is adept at building tension through repetition, texture, and delayed gratification. After an extended solo in “Apocalypse Dreams,” the eventual return to the main riff was that much more satisfying, the crowd visibly swaying. Who knew there was such a huge audience for hazy Australian psych? 


 


 


 


 



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