Tame Impala Live Review From The Fillmore

11/18/2012

Photographs by Leticia Molina

A buzz built outside of The Fillmore. “Can I get a ticket?” “Anyone have tickets to sell!?” Anxious fans without tickets crowded around the venue trying their hardest to find a way into Tame Imapala‘s sold-out performance. Inside, The Amazing opened up the night to a few dozen huddled fans. “I never dreamed I would stand on this stage,” proclaimed the bassist in the most polite and appreciative Swedish accent. Setting the tone for the evening with their chill-back vibes and mellow music, halfway through their set the venue was packed with a very stoned audience.

I’ll admit, the excitement surrounding the show came as a little of a surprise. Three months earlier Tame Impala headlined Outside Lands‘ main stage early in the day to a sparse audience. That was before their sophomore album Lonerism was released. The album has climbed the Billboard Charts, received high praise from esteemed BBC critic, Zane Low, and likely will be included atop many end of the year lists. Without sounding trite Lonerism’s 60s pop rock style flashes shades of late Beatles and Cream. Like the album, live, Tame Impala has a relentless, full sound that swirls with psychedelic layerings and crisp guitar leads. Kevin Parker’s vocals wax and wane as though desperately trying to emerge from underneath the water.

From set opener “Be Above It” to the group’s single “Elephant,” the crowd’s excitement never faltered. The group’s music is easy to get lost in. Behind the band a WinAmp visual circa ’95 burst in-synch with the high and low notes, which seemed fitting given the band’s throwback style.

It was awesome to hear that Lonerism live sounded almost exactly like the album. It wouldn’t have surprised me if the aesthetic magic of the album was lost outside the studio, but this wasn’t the case: the revving guitars of “Elephant” pumped tightly, the synths of “Music To Walk Home By” soared and Parker’s somber tone cried out on “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.”

As the show came to its end, I felt like I had just witnessed something special. For those unfortunate few that didn’t get tickets in advance, don’t miss out on the next opportunity. Tame Impala is on to something.