Review: Tame Impala at Massey Hall

Last time Tame Impala came around to Toronto and rocked out at the now defunct Kool Haus, it was clear the you were witnessing a band that was on the brink of something great.

Major music reviewers everywhere were hailing the band’s second album, Lonerism, as a masterpiece in modern psychedelic music, and the band was breaking out to a new level of fame. Psychedelic music was back maaaan, and frontman Kevin Parker was driving that psych train.

This time, in the cavernous confines of Massey Hall, the crowd witnessed a band that was now there.

Touring for their new album Currents – releases July 17th – Tame Impala had three new songs up their sleeve this time. Parker also kept on tinkering with the bands older tracks for their live performances too, with even more variations and new effects.

But as much as Tame Impala’s performance had come back even more intense and more powerful than last time, the crowd failed to live up to any hype.

Confined to a foot by foot square of standing space each under the tyranny of the venues chairs, even the floor spots were comprised of a bunch of dudes just standing around.

But, if for any good reason, it might just have been that they were standing and staring in awe.

Between Tame Impala’s classic graphic show played by projector onto a screen behind them, to the variants and interludes that Kevin and his merry band of psychedelic rockers threw into every single one of their songs, seeing Tame Impala isn’t just a concert to see. Its an experience in psychedelic music.

Every now and then in almost every song, Parker, or guitarist Dom Simper would come in with a perfectly placed chord from left-field that would pierce through your soul with the psychedelic power of a thousand suns put through a phaser pedal. Moments strong enough to take your breath away.

Yeah man. It was intense.

Hyperbole aside, it’s shocking just how groovy and how flow-y their sound translated to on a live stage. Julien Barbagallo, Tame Impala’s resident french drummer, broke it down on the drums with fills that you can only pull off in your dreams.

Highlights included crowd pleaser “Elephant,” where the songs drum roll outro was interrupted with a 3 minute jam, before melting back into the same drum roll outro, and “Cause I’m A Man” from their upcoming album, a six minute jam that has Cam Avery grooving on the bass and a synth lead that shows the bands poppy side.

With this tour, Tame Impala look to be the masters of their genre. It’s very clear, with the way they manage to prolong their songs with twists and turns and never have a dull moment during their set. They’re doing their thing, and they’re doing it better than anybody else could.

Even though nobody was moving to it, it was just as good to watch and bask in Tame Impala’s live masterpiece.

 

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