Tame Impala, The John Steel Singers @ The Palace, Melbourne (15/10/2010)
It’s been one hell of a year for Perth four piece Tame Impala, with the long awaited release of their debut album Innerspeaker, a national tour as well as touring both Europe and the United States, while returning triumphantly to the festival circuit. After the huge success of their self titled debut EP, album singles Solitude Is Bliss and Lucidity have propelled the band well into the mainstream, as the consistently sold out crowds prove exactly how far this band have come. While this psychedelic rock outfit have been out conquering the globe, they returned to play a round of spring shows; this particular one, on a cold, wet and stormy night in Melbourne.
As the swelling crowd had begun the night with a set from Felicity Groom and her dark driving indie pop and rock tracks, The John Steel Singers ascended the stage to really kick off the evening. While support bands are predominantly hit or miss, this six piece band from Brisbane unleashed an array of indie pop and rock tracks which not only deservedly gained the crowd’s attention, but also had audience members bopping and dancing along. Tracks such as new single Overpass, Masochist and Evolution all impressed, while Tame Impala drummer Jay Watson joined the band onstage for final song Rainbow Kraut. With their debut album Tangalooma awaiting release, this promising band showed the crowd why they are not an local band that should be discarded easily.
After a short break which included the rigging up of a projector and laser system which was to provide the backdrop for the evening, Tame Impala walked onto the stage in their usual barefoot manner, bursting into Innerspeaker album opener It Is Not Meant To Be, with singer Kevin Parker’s Lennon-esque vocals being at their most noticeable. While the crowd cheered and sung along, a group immediately began lighting up, with several security personnel attempting to diffuse the situation, literally.
In a somewhat interesting move, second song of the set was the highly successful single, Solitude Is Bliss, leading the crowd to chant “you will never come close to how I feel!” Diving straight into album track, Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind, the crowd mellowed out a little in the overall nature of the track itself.
Next was the incredibly addictive Alter Ego, which had many members of the crowd shoving their hands into the air, chanting along the bridge before swaying with the chorus. This reaction was repeated with new single Lucidity, which not only possesses one of the coolest and most headache inducing videos of 2010, but is also a killer song, displaying the exact attitude and fervour of the band.
Although there is not a substantial amount of crowd interaction at a Tame Impala show, and never really has been, they did express their appreciation for the support of the fans, as well as informing the crowd of their love for Melbourne and it being their favourite city to play to. In many ways, they present themselves as a band who, as clichéd as it comes across, just let the music speak for themselves. The crowd are there for the music, so in many ways, the music is just what they are going to get.
Expectations continued the onslaught of lengthy psychedelic rock numbers and the instrumental jams in between tracks, which is so quintessentially Tame Impala, continued long into the set. One of the highlights of the night came through Desire Be, Desire Go, originally taken from their debut EP but remastered for Innerspeaker, with many of the band’s older fans visibly excited to hear the opening riff.
In what felt like somewhat of a greatest hits set, or at least a more mainstream friendly set, Sundown Syndrome was another crowd favourite, initiating some sort of a moshing group at and around the front of the stage. Guitarist Dominic Simper and bassist Nick Allbrook predominantly keep themselves while solely concentrating on their instruments, and it is left to drummer Jay Watson to provide most of the crowd interaction for the evening.
A brief return to Desire Be, Desire Go was interrupted by Parker announcing that most of the crowd might not even be old enough to remember the upcoming song, because they band were not. Launching into their cover of the 90s Blue Boy track Remember Me, the crowd were at their most involved thus far, which is somewhat disappointing considering the previous material. While this cover was omitted during their last Australian tour much to the disappointment of many punters, the addition of it this time around certainly improved both the crowd’s reaction and overall enjoyment. Becoming a sort of signature ending to a Tame Impala show, the last couple of songs are presented to the crowd in a sort of ‘mega-mix’ fashion, blending into one another effortlessly, and keeping the crowd guessing. EP track Skeleton Tiger was next in the mix, and it was incredibly refreshing to still hear the EP tracks doing the rounds.
Finally, it was time for their most well known song, Half Full Glass Of Wine, which the crowd had clearly been waiting for and which appropriately rounded off their set for the evening. With the moshing and jumping in full force for the evening, the end of the final song came as Tame Impala walked off the stage with their usual absence of an encore, leaving the crowd reeling.
While the set had clearly been crafted to present the most energetic, constant and catchy tracks to the crowd, there was a longing for the appearance of older EP tracks or even the epic album instrumental Jeremy’s Storm to appear in the set.
Ultimately, the show presented by the Perth boys was fantastic, keeping the crowd entertained from start to finish, leaving them wanting more of this band who are worth every bit of recognition and success they attract. Here’s hoping that Tame Impala are in it for the long run, as the Australian music scene and music in general, is much better for their presence.