Oct 10, 2015

On The Scene: Tame Impala at Terminal 5, 10.7.15 by Liz Maher

Still sweaty from their Radio City show, Australian 1-5 piece, Tame Impala pounded Terminal 5 with a light show worthy of any Friday teen metal night that ever went down at the Hayden Planetarium. From our seating we were spared the gimmicky stage show and instead focused on the impressive menu of pedals and fuzzboxes TI’s white coated roadies arranged for Kevin Parker on a Persian carpet. Parker took the stage barefooted and used his toes to squeeze various gadgets throughout the night, often forgetting he once played guitar.

A full house of worshipping TI fans licked up Parker's dance-psych wizardry as though it were acid soaked stamps printed on images of superheroes. Fans sang along to most songs, swaying and yelling for Parker as he drenched them with Poland Spring his brand of holy hallucinogenic water.

The Kev's pedal fetish comes in a sumptuary array of pedal porn, both left and right boards. A garage band this is not. He seems to use a Boss heavy metal delay on most songs and an Electro-Harmonix phase shifter for the TamImp signature sound, which is really about goofing the universe and making your world appear to flicker. Sophie Sleigh-Johnson from These New Pilgrims has a show where she stands and delivers her Chthonic Index at Focalpoint in London: Focal Point Gallery - Current Exhibition. You should check up on this before you have the same old thoughts you have always had and will again always have had. Really, there is so much more to say, but it is all footnotes about obscure peds, mostly non-tube little gee-gaws, do-dads, and jabberwockies dreamed up by geeks in a Roald Dahl fantasmagoria of applied techi-crunchi toe-jam lickin' on the magic Persian carpet delight. Kev is a true ped-o-phile, but remember kiddies, it is all about the flicker, not the means of mental abduction.

Tame Impala does not fall into the classic mold of psych music - more of a molly rush than the traditional 13th Floor Elevator acid variety. That being said, Tameye’s musical peers and critics consider Parker's project as one of the most influential bands since Zeppelin. Forget Nirvana, White Stripes (who, according to Jack White, everyone copies), Jay Z, Dav Gagguetta and fill-in-more. Rising stars of Brooklyn-based alt bands, Sunflower Bean penned a devotional ode in their honor.

Did I post a review of the Sunflower Bean gig here? No. Here it is: Minor chords emphasized like Coldplay, only Sunflowers do it better with less annoying personalities. Julia Cummings is promising but needs to find more of her own voice to keep up. She sounds like she's afraid to sing in public. Loads of potential there.

Back to Tame I. Parker evolves psych by steering clear of the stale high-treble and Rick formula that would only result in a 13th generation psych bar band. Parker blends club music technique with trance pounding distortions that appeal to today’s music buyers. It’s a brilliant marketing scheme where Parker gets it both ways-alt cred and mainstream income.

Parker’s lyrics continue to cleverly reveal so many universal truths - about himself. He flaps his arms a lot and thanks the crowd often but doesn't interact much beyond that.

No stranger to pop music, Parker saw the limited appeal of a one piece and gave up the bliss of solitude to transition to a five man for Currents. He seems to have lost muscle tone in the transformation though. Cause he’s a man of course.

The evening’s setlist was almost a mirror image of their Radio City show with the insertion of Oscilly and Walk On. Settled into TI’s current transition theme, Parker stuck mainly with Currents material vocals and foot pedaling, using his guitars mainly as cool props. Shimmery waves of reverb and other fun noise gimmicks muffled Parker’s sinewy vocals. Live, their performance amplifies the psych connection that outshines their recordings by parsecs.

Toward the middle of the night, a strategically placed Elephant perked up the crowd after a rather introverted Less I Know the Better. Cause I’m a Man is my new feminist anthem. It explains so much.

As wayfaring as TI’s choreographing is intentioned, everything that happened so far was anything Parker controlled skillfully executed without undermining Parker’s mock Yessuz serendipity. From the uniformed roadies to the merch, TI/Parker is the new rock god of the universe.

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