Vancouver’s Malkin Bowl provided a perfect setting for the gentle sonic aura and catchy melodies of Tame Impala. Reverberating over a picturesque outdoor stage with a gentle grassy slope and lined by proud evergreen trees, the night’s soundscape was both beautiful and surreal. The venue provided an ideal setting for the particularly gorgeous weather and equally vibrant fans ecstatic to have a ticket to the sold out event.
Tame Impala, a sophisticated and melody laden neo-psychedelic group originating from Perth, Australia, have recently found a massive boast in popularity. The band have played lauded sets at recent festivals like Coachella and Levitation/Austin Psych Fest. Having built a dedicated fan following with their critically acclaimed Innerspeaker, and followup Lonerisms, Tame Impala’s upcoming record Currents is highly anticipated.
The evening’s performance in the gorgeous summer dusk of Stanley Park provided introduction to the collection of new songs and amoung many older favourites. Tame Impala, with their penchant for jams and extended arrangements, can no longer perform all favourites in a single set. “If you didn’t figure it out, we did the long version. You deserve the long one” laughed bandleader and mastermind. Kevin Parker after completing a roundabout version of “Elephant.” The playful, reggae inspired interlude is a prime example of a side of Tame Impala that can only be experienced through their live performance.
While fans heard selections of songs from their first record and a healthy dose of cuts off Lonerisms, the song craft of group composer Kevin Parker continues to simmer with his signature style of glowing synth tones and reverb-laden hooks. Tame Impala always sound like Tame Impala. The group’s fine balance of song structures, sonic experimentalism and pop sensibilities shine on new songs like “Let It Happen,“ another successful exercise of the group’s signature musical personality. While the band’s newer works are more electronic in aspect, the subtle guitar touches on their studio recordings have more depth and grit when executed live.
Backed by a stage full of top grade visual electronics and a phenomenal live band (most of whom make up Pond, check them out!) Kevin Parker sings with an ambitious confidence. Currents is to be Tame Impala’s most electronic oriented record to date. Parker has embraced sleek, pop sensitive vocals on his newer compositions, a departure from the John-Lennon-like imitations of his earlier work. Tame Impala are one of the most characteristic successes in modern rock music. While the band’s tendency towards electronic experimentation is admirable, it’s hard not to lament the absence of the blazing guitars present on their earlier work, however the live incarnations of the new cuts bore significantly more raw energy than their studio takes.
The evening’s psychedelic projects are also worthy of mention; thick, lush, resonating tones and fluid, earthy, bright visualizations yielded an undeniably hypnotic effect. Swirling with gentle turbulence, Tame Impala’s visual show is notable of mention for its sheer fittingness to their music. Likewise, the performers projected an ecstatic energy, perhaps the aura of a critically artistic band that has found mainstream success and feels on top of the world. The audience’s general demeanour included a friendly openness of particular note. Admiring the towering evergreens and idyllic park setting, Parker smiled affectionately “We had no idea this part of Vancouver existed.” Tame Impala’s previous performances at the Commodore Ballroom did not convey the same magic summer effect; the band’s enthusiasm fed off the beautiful scenery. This event featured a great band, passionate audience, stunning venue, & fantastic weather; all in all a perfect concert.
Photos © Jamie Taylor//Cryptic Photography