Tame Impala Psyches Out The Pageant
Australian psych-rockers Tame Impala stopped by The Pageant on Monday night and somehow found a way to convey your Uncle Mark’s acid flashbacks from the 60’s and 70’s through a live music experience. When it comes to recorded music, Tame Impala is Kevin Parker. Parker writes all of the songs and creates the textured and dynamic music himself while playing every instrument and using techniques such as reverb and fuzzing to melt your mind. However, the Tame Impala live experience is a five piece powerhouse featuring drummer Julien Barbagallo, bassist Cam Avery, and multi instrumentalists Dominic Simper and Jay Watson who provide additional layers to their unique sound by way of additional guitar, bass, and synths, respectively. Parker himself sticks primarily to the guitar and vocal duty for live performances, relying heavily on down tuning and effects pedals to recreate the sound heard on recordings.
Opening act Kuroma started things off at 8PM and did a perfectly fine job as an opening act for a band as hyped as Tame Impala. They ripped through their 45 minute support slot full of indie garage rock with ferocity. Kuroma is fronted by Hank Sullivant, former front man of The Whigs. Sullivant also spent some time as a touring guitarist with MGMT, I kind of wished more of that sound had rubbed off on him, but regardless, it was a very good set. Kuroma isn’t new to the scene, they have been around on and off since 2008 and they have a few albums available. They are worth checking out for sure. There was a noticeable difference at this point between the under 21 section and the over 21 section. The all ages floor and right quarter of the venue were both packed full of kids that had lined up early in hopes of riding the rail or obtaining that sweet spot in the pit. Then there were those disappointed to end up in the raised seating just off to the side of the floor. However, even after Kuroma’s set ended, there were optimal spots available for those who were old enough to consume alcoholic beverages. Much of the crowd started to fill in after Kuroma ended their set. Sucks to be them…
During the set change from Kuroma to Tame Impala, all signs pointed towards this being an interesting show. The stagehands and techs in charge of setting up and sound checking the equipment were all dressed in white lab coats. The set up was quite simple, a large screen behind the band and a handful of lights set up all over the stage. The stacks of speakers set up at the side of the stage told everyone in the room that it was about to get loud.
Tame Impala did a great job covering their entire catalog, including a few new tracks from their soon-to-be released album, Currents, out July 19. The set also featured songs from 2010’sInnerspeaker, but focused heavily on 2012’s critically acclaimed, and commercially successful,Lonerism. Once Parker led the rest of the boys on stage, the crowd immediately erupted and welcomed the Aussie’s to St. Louis.
The set began with a little tuning free jam before segueing into the new and almost Daft Punk-ish sounding “Let It Happen”, from the yet to be released Currents. The screen behind the band was transformed into a giant spinning eyeball. The screen didn’t get any less weird throughout the next 90 minutes while we were taken on what seemed like a chemically enhanced spiritual journey into Kevin Parker’s mind.
The rest of the set featured minimal banter and excessive amounts of awesomeness. The crowd seemed to respond the most to the tracks from Lonerism, including “Elephant”, which many people recognize as the song from a Blackberry commercial. Remember when Blackberry was a thing briefly?
Highlights of the set were “Endors Toi”, “Be Above It”, which featured one of the only real opportunities for the band to stray from the course and do a little free jamming, and set closer “Apocalypse Dreams”, which is always a fan favorite. The encore featured another crowd favorite “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” before ending with “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control”, most likely Tame Impala’s longest song title.
When the lights came on and the lab coat sporting stage hands returned to start tearing down the spectacle that was, it appeared that most of the crowd was incredibly satisfied with what we had just experienced. Tame Impala are at the top of their game right now and not to be missed if you are given the opportunity to check them out. They are quickly shooting up the bills on festival lineups across the globe, and even though this show was shy of being a sellout, I would be shocked to see them playing rooms the size of The Pageant much longer.
SETLIST (courtesy of Setlist.fm)
- Let It Happen
- Endors Toi
- It Is Not Meant to Be
- Why Won’t They Talk to Me?
- Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?
- Be Above It (extended jam)
- Mind Mischief
- Cause I’m a Man
- Alter Ego
- Apocalypse Dreams
- E: Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
- E: Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control