Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tame Impala kicks off US tour – And this is them on a MONDAY




They come with an oscilloscope, beat-necked sweaters, and a bright green kazoo.

It’s confirmed: The psychedelic desert boys from Perth are more than a studio band. And when Tame Impala takes the stage, none of them stands center.

Their humble presence and sense of humor allow for songs’ impact to hold up in a live setting. When you finally peel your eyes away from the foursome at work, you realize they’ve sent each audience member into a lustful daze – no two facial expressions or bodies grooving alike.


“I really don’t consider myself a rock star,” guitarist Dom Simper bashfully insists, after a love-struck Boston fan ambushed him with a bearded, bro-love kiss on the cheek.

“We’re not really from Australia… I’ve been saying that the whole time,” quipped lead guitarist and vocalist Kevin Parker, inciting laughs with playful banter, as the crowd called out declarations of love for the boys’ home place.

Humor is one of Tame Impala’s rock’n’roll virtues. So is the human connection they achieve through songs that communicate emotional identification with listeners.

Parker’s lyrics speak to personal reflection as their music distracts from external pressures. His words and dreamy delivery disarm anxiety (“space around me where my soul can breathe, I’ve got a body that my mind can leave/nothing else matters, don’t care what I miss, company’s OK – solitude is bliss”).

But Tame Impala’s greatest gift to music is the sincerity of their live performance.

'Expectation' from Innerspeaker live at the Paradise (available in HD - see my youtube channel for more videos, including 'Desire Be Desire Go'):


Opening with ‘It is Not Meant to be’ and ending with a non-encore medley (“We don’t know any encores… So after the last song, that’s it,” – K. Parker) of ‘Remember Me’/’Skeleton Tiger’/’Half Full Glass of Wine,’ they played a mix of songs from their 2008 EP, 2010’s Innerspeaker and singles like ‘Sundown Syndrome.’ (Comment for full set list)

‘Remember Me,’ a Blueboy cover, carried into ‘Skeleton Tiger,’ which fell into the final chugs of a gritty ‘Half Full Glass of Wine.’

Talking after the show, Dom said bands don’t make money from record sales anymore, and that any earnings come from touring. Boston fans watched Tame Impala accepting this challenge during the fourth gig of their first US headlining tour. Dom also said the band is always working on new material, and that they plan to release another album next year.

“We sold out two Bowerys,” he adds, explaining the group’s collective exhaustion.

Both their Bowery Ballroom NYC shows (11.18-19) sold out in weeks prior. By Friday the 19th, their Facebook status read, “Voice box broken last night due to crookness caused by Endless Touring Fatigue (ETF)…”

You heard Kevin straining himself a few times during the Paradise set, but his vocal persistence just made them more endearing. However, it did sound like Jay Watson (drums) slowed down most of the songs intentionally.

But the Endless Touring has only just begun - with New York on Thursday and Friday, Philly Sunday, Boston Monday, Montreal Tuesday, and Toronto Wednesday - before getting a break.

When I asked Dom for recommendations of good rock he named the newest Ariel Pink album, Before Today, and Warpaint, a female rock outfit from LA.

“They’re [good rock bands] out there, you just have to look…” Dom said with a smirk, before retiring to their red tourbus, ready to leave Boston and make a Canadian border crossing at 6 a.m.

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