COMMODORE BALLROOM, MAY 27
Psychedelic rock outfit Tame Impala melted the Commodore’s walls on May 27 with a tie-dyed pastiche of their brief two album catalogue. The sold out two-hour show resembled a DJ style mash-up of beats and rhythms, rather than a contiguous song-by-song set list.
Scraggly-haired singer-songwriter Kevin Parker stood centre stage while his touring band bled songs and tape samples into continuous loops. The band might have been listening to George Martin’s 2006 reinterpretation of the Beatles album LOVE. The verses were transgressed and spliced with extended labyrinthine jams before returning again.
Just as Martin breathed life into Beatles classics, Tame Impala have a knack for reinterpreting 60’s psych rock in a way that befits potheads, acidheads and parachuters alike. At times, nothing really began or ended. Everything seemed to bleed and meld, bloom and wilt into an intoxicating tie-dyed elixir. An elixir the crowd consumed deeply.
It was this strange ebb and flow of looping consonance and dissonance that seemed to unhinge Tame Impala from their psychedelic pop constraints and drench them in a pool of acid dronery. Jams were extended for hours, it seemed, while singing was sparse.
Parker, who essentially is Tame Impala — writing every song and playing the majority of the instruments on their two albums— seemed to let his band do most of the work, keeping a skeletal rhythm and implementing the occasional lead while his band exploded in different skyscraping directions.
The only disappointment was the too-short rendition of “Mind Mischief” (arguably the band’s best song from 2012’s Lonerism), which was cut short before the first chorus.
Ultimately the show felt like one big cacophonous wave, pushing and pulling in intensity, back and forth, in and out like the imbuing pulse of an acid ripple. In short, with only two albums of material to work with, this aural mélange was unequivocally the best creative effect Tame Impala could have chosen, and it worked over the transfixed crowd like the soft wooly vibrations of a technicoloured dream.
By Lliam EasterbrookBC, British Columbia