Music, OldVenue

Gig Review – Tame Impala and Alexandra Palace

Tame Impala’s rise from representing Aussie teenagers with a taste for psychedelics to selling out rooms as large as Alexandra Palace’s main hall has been one of the great victories for guitar music in the 21st century. Their last record, Currents, was named the best of album of 2015 by Q, while sophomore effort Lonerism received the same accolade in 2012 from NME. Their rise has been meteoric and yet they remain uncompromising in their craft – their psychedelic-inspired guitar parts and mesmerising indie beats remain as potent as when they first arrived and haven’t been limited to suit the tastes of their new, far wider audience.

Their set at this iconic London venue begins explosively, with confetti flying through the lights of a giant laser beam as the beat dropped on latest album opener ‘Let It Happen’. The band themselves appear entirely engulfed in the sound they’re creating and deliver delectable melodies effortlessly. Kevin Parker is a shy figure at centre stage but his vocal performance is remarkable – his pitch never wavers and he hits high notes with such incredible effortlessness.

There are frequent changes of pace offered by the band’s remarkably diverse and consistent discography that ensure the performance never drags. The roaring, grungy bass of 2012 single ‘Elephant’ compliments the melancholy, spacey vibes of ‘Why Won’t They Talk To Me?’ brilliantly. One minute the band channel Pink Floyd on the epic instrumental segments of ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’, the next they’re leading the crowd in an LCD Soundsystem-esque dance party with the funk-inspired ‘The Less I Know The Better’. It’s a remarkably diverse gig and just when you think this incredible band don’t have anything left up their sleeve, they lead the crowd into a mass sing-a-long of ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ in a euphoric, ‘arms round a random stranger’ moment.
There are some notable absences in the set, but it’s a credit to the strength of the band’s output that few go away dissappointed with the track selection. First record Innerspeaker has become something of a cult classic but is largely ignored this time around in favour of cuts from Currents – a decision which considering the new album’s popularity feels like a good one. Recent single ‘Cause I’m A Man’ also fails to make the cut, but generally the band fails to dissappoint with the songs they play.

Few bands are able to make the jump to larger venues with such effortless grace – Tame Impala prove themselves to be exceptional performers who in the years to come feel destined to headline the biggest festivals in the world. They take the crowd on a psychedelic voyage to remember and don’t let go until right the very end – the future is very, very bright for this band.

23/02/2016

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D.Jeakins