Tame Impala at The Enmore, Sydney


Harriet Cheney saw the creators of our album of the year play live in Sydney. Safe to say she enjoyed it:

I missed shit kringle at our annual Christmas party to attend this gig. That might not sound like much of a sacrifice to you, but it’s a pretty big event on my calendar and I will now spend months deciphering references and personal jokes derived from this inevitably frivolous evening. Shame, but sometimes (often) music comes first, especially when it’s the band that you named as your artist of the year.

I arrived at The Enmore Theatre in Sydney to hear the train-like rhythm of ‘Gotta be Above It’ and took my place among the sun bleached dreadlocks, flannel shirts and hipster teeny boppers (they’re probably about 20… I’m still coming to terms with the fact that people five years younger than me are actually in their 20s… shit).

I’d just settled into the hypnotic beat when Tame Impala launched into “Solitude is Bliss”, the undeniably most ‘pop’ influenced song on their first album ‘Innerspeaker’. This song exemplifies the way I feel at this time at year… nice to know we’re on the same page. The colourful graphics provided an appropriately psychedelic backdrop for the band. I first saw these graphics when Tame Impala played at the Opera House for Vivid Live in 2011. The size of the image grows with the sound vibrations of Kevin Parker’s guitar, meaning that the image expands and goes mental at the peak of a song or during the epic jam phase.

This was pretty evident during ‘Elephant’ as the bluesy, reggae pounding beat cut sharply through the psych pop and of course everyone started stomping like elephants. It’s the wild card on the new album ‘Lonerism’; the grounding force amongst a sky of dreamy clouds. No one stood still for this song and I so badly wished I was in the mosh pit.

When they followed up with ‘Feels like We Only Go Backwards’ and ‘Lucidity’ I was glad I had space to ‘floaty’ dance. It was easy to relax and be taken on the ride with Tame Impala; much easier than at previous gigs. While I could never fault Tame Impala’s musical ability, their awkwardness on stage and between sets in the past made it difficult to establish a rapport with the band. However this time, Kevin Parker was not only chatty and open, he was downright charismatic!

The final song before encore was ‘Apocalypse Dreams’. Parker sang “This could be the day that we push through, it could be the day that all our dreams come true.” I like his optimism in the face of everyone else’s end-of-the-world fears. Or perhaps he’s referring to the more ancient definition of apocalypse, when people would starve themselves until they hallucinated in order to have out-of-body experiences. Regardless, I love the mid-song time and key signature changes. They give the music an extra dimension, showcasing Parker’s music and providing structure for the jamming that’s so characteristic of Tame Impala.

I could have happily listened to another hour of that set. That’s the thing with Tame Impala, they now have two totally ace albums, plus a couple of bangin’ EPs, so every song at their gigs is a winner. It’s not just the songs though, it’s the atmosphere and feeling that they create. It feels good. Well, better than good; more like ecstatic. I couldn’t sleep for hours after this gig. I was convinced that I just saw the best band in world right now, and maybe I did.



Review by Harriet Cheney. Photo of Tame Impala (taken at Parklife, by Aengus Cassidy)