Tame Impala

We at Gig Junkies like to bring you all the best bands, so tonight we travel to Sheffield to catch acclaimed Australian band, Tame Impala, playing one of their few UK tour dates. Their new album, ‘Lonerism’, has been causing a bit of a sensation and the gig is sold out, with punters jammed into the venue like tinned sardines.

Young Dreams

Support tonight is from Young Dreams, all the way from Norway. They are clearly influenced by the vocal harmonies and styling of the Beach Boys, with plenty of synths and electronica thrown in. They have a subtle and crisp sound, with well structured and melodic songs. Their set is well received and the style fits in with that of tonight’s headliners.

Tame Impala first played the UK in 2010, to promote their debut album, “Innerspeaker”. Their new, second, album has achieved rave reviews, chart success and radio play and has resulted in a high demand for concert tickets. A recent review in The Guardian described their sound as “a bubbling, intoxicating opus that blends classic psych-rock with lush pop, glam stomps and experimental sound of the 70s and club highs of the 90s”! The band’s website says that they make “psychedelic hypno-groove melodic rock music”. Well, you’ll have to listen to their albums and make up your own mind.

Tame Impala

Tame Impala seem to be one of a growing number of new bands who are really taking forward the jaded concept of indie guitar music and injecting exciting retro elements, including psychedelic and prog-rock, synths and electronica and close vocal harmonies. However, far from simply revisiting and rehashing the past, they, like a lot of other new bands this year (eg. Toy, Django Django), really seem to be creating something new and exciting.

Tame Impala

On stage, lead singer and guitarist, Kevin Parker, is the obvious focus of attention, with his eye-catching Rickenbacker guitar. With bare feet, he operates a large array of effects pedals spread out on the stage in front of him. This detail was probably lost on the packed audience in the Leadmill, most of whom could only see the musicians on the low stage from the waste up.

Tame Impala

The set is made up of songs from both albums and their EPs and the material varies from dreamy to good old stomping, riffing heavy rock. The band has a range of well-crafted songs, which are stylistically varied and this holds the listeners attention throughout the evening. The touring band is a five piece, which enables them to realise their often complex arrangements.

Tame Impala

It’s a pretty enthusiastic audience at the Leadmill tonight and a sizeable proportion is well-familiar with the songs. Many people seem to have travelled some way to see the band. However, the gig really seems to kick off after the first few numbers when Parker announces it’s the band’s first time in Sheffield and they launch in the single, “Elephant”, one of the highlights of the new album. “Elephant” has great guitar and keyboard parts and a stonking good driving bass line riff. After that many of the audience seem to be singing along and the atmosphere becomes more electric. The band’s playing gets increasingly frantic and we get some proper heads-down guitar headbanging.

Tame Impala

Finally, after the meandering, echoing psychedelia of “Apocalyse Dreams”, another track from the new album, the band leaves the stage to return, after a short interval, when it is very clear the audience wants more. “Who wants tucker?” asks the bass player, who has a bag of what appears to be chocolate bars. He throws these out individually into the audience, after which the band launch into, possibly the highlight of the evening, a thunderous and lengthy rendition of “Half Full Glass of Wine”, a driving guitar rocker with a memorable repetitive riff.

Tame Impala

All in all, tonight proves Tame Impala are another reason why 2012 is turning out to be a great year for exciting and interesting new music.

Set list: Rub A Chicken; Intro; Solitude Is Bliss / Jam; Endors Toi; It Is Not Meant To Be; Music to Walk Home By; Elephant; Feels Like We Only Go Backwards; Lucidity; Alter Ego; Mind Mischief; Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?; Desire Be, Desire Go; Apocalypse Dreams. Encore: Half Full Glass of Wine

Photographs and Review by John Bentley

8th November 2012: TAME IMPALA unveil video for new single ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’, the latest single from Tame Impala’s critically-acclaimed sophomore album Lonerism, premiers today. Created by animators (and musicians) Joe Pelling & Becky Sloan, it’s a hypercolour wave, a visual imprint of their sonic landscape, and totally Tame Impala.

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