Friday, 2 November 2012

Tame Impala Space Out In Amsterdam

After the release of the brilliant second album Lonerism things are going fast now for Australian bandTame Impala. The band is selling out club shows all over the place and this may even be the last time you'll be able to see them at the smaller venues. I wasn't in time to get my ticket for Paradiso but fortunately a friend had one left. Will mastermind Kevin Parker be able to stun us on stage the same way he did with his album?

Tame Impala at Paradiso Amsterdam, October 29 2012

We get a great spot at the right side of the venue close to the stage when the band begin their show. They head off with 'Be Above It', one of the great psych rock songs on the new album. The bass and drums start pounding our ears and only a few songs later we cannot take it any more. We have to move to the back of the venue where the sound is more in balance. Even with ear plugs in, it was more than I could take. I'm not too pleased with the sound in general. Of course this music has lots of effects and reverb, but tonight the music kind of drowns in it. The subtleties and layers in the music get a bit lost that way, which is a shame since that's what's making this music so good.

Former drum player Jay Watson has shifted to keyboards and they enlisted a new one. It's obvious why: Frenchman Julien Barbagallo is playing solid grooves and fills with great timing. Together with singer Kevin Parker he's also adding some life to the mostly static rest of the band. This is too bad, since a bit more action on stage could drag you even more into the spacey songs. Now I'm having trouble to completely get sucked into the music. Parker himself sometimes is trying to direct a few words to the crowd but they are mostly smothered in reverb and occasionally interrupted by guitar effects. For the rest he has completely submerged into his spaced out musical world.

But the music itself is what is lifting this performance to a higher level. The great songs sometimes get a surprising twist like 'Elephant'. Just before the end it takes a sudden turn into a drum solo and completely spaces out. Then it returns to the original song and ends in the last few chords. The set is a nice mix of the two albums, where the songs of Innerspeaker sound more confident. I guess over time the other songs will sound just as convincing. The band do find their balance in the last song of the night, a brilliant version of 'Half Glass Full Of Wine'. Here they are showing why their music is so extraordinary. Too bad their whole set wasn't of the same level or this could have turned legendary. Not that it was disappointing, not at at all. Maybe I was expecting too much of it, but now it was "just" a good show in the end.

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1. Be Above It
2. Solitude Is Bliss
3. Endors Toi
4. It Is Not Meant To Be
5. Music to Walk Home By
6. Elephant
7. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
8. Lucidity
9. Alter Ego
10. Mind Mischief
11. Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind?
12. Desire Be Desire Go
13. Apocalypse Dreams
14. Half Glass Full of Wine

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