Kevin Parker

LIVE: Tame Impala @ The 9:30 Club - 2/20/13

Kevin Parker’s Tame Impala made a stop by the 9:30 Club last Wednesday, and while they may have had their controls set for the heart of the sun, where they ended up may have been slightly less cosmic. That’s not to say the assembled touring lineup – Tame Impala is largely a one-man studio effort by Parker – didn’t deliver an, at times, hallucinatory and brain melting performance. Layer upon layer of Parker’s modern take on psychedelia were dished out to a blazingly receptive audience who were all more than willing to ride the wave where ever it took them – unfortunately, for the majority of the set that was exactly the same place.

With only a brief detour into 2010’s Innerspeaker, Parker and crew leaned heavily into material off last year’s critically lauded Lonerism, an album that is as divisive in its praise as it is ultimately enjoyable in its technical perfection.  That perfection spilled out onto the stage in tracks like opener “Apocalypse Dreams,” “Endors Toi” and “Music To Walk Home By,” but it wasn’t until weighty riffs of “Elephant” and the resulting instrumental exploration that the band seemed to fully engage with the audience, or even acknowledge that they were playing in front of a sold out crowd.  Of course that crowd didn’t mind in the least – Tame Impala are the torch bearers du jour for lovers of early Floyd and an assortment of mid- to late-70’s prog rockers.

REVIEW: Tame Impala - Lonerism

Hopefully you’ve been reading our (almost) year-by-year trip through musical history here at ChunkyGlasses. A project like that compels you to dig through old reviews and articles, and a recurring story is one of bands trying to capture some sort of “late 60s/early 70s sound,” if such a thing exists. Frequently the sound is referred to as modernized psychedelia, and through the years Echo and the Bunnymen, Jellyfish, The Apples in Stereo, and anyone in the Madchester or Paisley Underground scenes were cited (or accused) of borrowing liberally from or even flat-out ripping off the Beatles, Pink Floyd, or King Crimson.

In every case those influences are present but don’t tell the whole story. So it is with Perth, Australia’s Tame Impala – no question you can hear the influences, but they are just that; influences. This is a band with its own flavor and identity, and their sophomore record, Lonerism, is a fantastic example of how those influences, properly channeled, can lead to something completely new.