Tame Impala | 06.01.15

live tame-impalaParker’s ethereal vocals seem to be fighting the intense gravity of a black hole, but once the ears catch up, the results are euphoric.

 

 

 

The Pageant, St. Louis

Aussie purveyors of psych-rock Tame Impala crash-landed their mothership at The Pageant to a packed house of frenzied humans. Touring in support of the soon-to-be-released Currents (due July 17 via Interscope), the band was proceeded by its road crew, all dressed in white lab coats, getting the stage ready for the mad-science jams to come.

Led by main man Kevin Parker, the band took the stage amid a burst of fog and lasers, kicking off the festivities early on with “Let It Happen,” a shimmering track from the upcoming disc. As with the band’s studio work, Parker’s ethereal vocals seem to be fighting the intense gravity of a black hole, but once the ears catch up, the results are euphoric.

With now-classic tracks including “Enders Toi” off 2012’s Lonerism, and “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?” from their debut EP Innerspeaker, the live version of Tame Impala brought the music to life in a way that recordings never really could. Taking the My Bloody Valentine approach of clashing, reverb-soaked guitars and adding the sweeping, synthy atmospherics, the band was tight and focused. Special attention must be given to drummer Julian Barbagallo who succeeded in taking the dramatic twists and turns in Parker’s music and ratcheting the proceedings up several notches.

When the band performed the Lonerism track “Elephant,” the capacity crowd was not only treated to a joyous rendition of the track, they were also delivered a late-song jam that Parker jokingly referred to as “Space Jazz Odyssey Number Four.” Hands were in the air, faces were transfixed, and the under-21s did their best to cram onto an already packed dance floor.

Parker, barefoot and dancing at the tip of the stage, has come into his own as a headlining front man, and was impressive in his ability to shepherd arena-sized music like he was ripping a hole in the time-space continuum, with the friendly affability of a guy talking to his friends in the parking lot.

Opener Kuroma was a four-piece rock outfit with great catchy pop, who managed to put across a more wonderfully ragged Japandroids vibe with a just a touch of early-days Talking Heads. A perfect antithesis to the night of psychedelia to come. | Jim Ousley

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