Monday 1 February 2016

On Stage: Tame Impala at Heineken Music Hall Amsterdam

After Kevin Parker released the third Tame Impala album Currents, things happened fast for him. All of a sudden he broke through to a bigger audience and that new status came with bigger festival slots and the smaller clubs he was used to playing were replaced with larger venues. So he now kicks off the European tour in the sold out Heineken Music Hall instead off a sold out Paradiso like a few years ago.

Tame Impala at Heineken Music Hall Amsterdam, January 29 2016

Bigger venues like that bring bigger crowds but also higher expectations. Tame Impala never were a band that would play the crowd but had to rely on their musical skills. The HMH may be a venue that sounds great but it’s also one that lacks the atmosphere of a smaller venue like my beloved Paradiso. Support act Jagwar Ma experiences that first hand tonight. The sound is not great the first half of the set and the threesome are drowning on the big stage. In the second part of their set the sounds seems to improve and their grooves sound a lot bigger and more convincing now. But they aren't ready yet for a venue of this size.

Tame Impala already proved to be able to entertain big crowds during the past festival summer and right from the start it is clear Parker and his band are totally up for the next step. The band kicks off with big hit ‘Let It Happen’ supported by large psychedelic visuals and confetti cannons, setting the mood right away. This can be risky since after such a big opening things could die down, but they are not letting it slip. Instead they are crafting their own universe around their music, dragging the crowd in. Parker actually looks very comfortable on stage, settling into his role as frontman of a big band, chatting to the crowd and thanking them several times. This brilliant musician has come along way with his music.

Even during a few slow songs like 'Yes I'm Changing' where he puts down his guitar and walks around stage like a first class crooner. He takes a stroll to either side of the stage, even sitting down at the front for a short while. The music is spot on and they made small changes to the arrangements to make them some of them sound bigger or extend them. Of course a song like ‘Elephant’ already sounds big enough with its pounding guitar groove, but some others sound a bit more meaty and sometimes get exploding endings. The more electronic sound of Currents blend in well with the older more guitar oriented songs, with the bigger hits scattered throughout the set.

The confetti cannons blow a few times more and the set runs smoothly. It is a very good place to be in, this newly crafted Parker universe. The crowd is dancing, you can smell a joint here and there and people are actually singing along to songs that aren't really singalong tunes. In the encore we get treated to a wonderful version of ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ and since Rihanna covered it, the band ends with ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’, which they never played live according to Parker. In the end this was a spectacular show with a band who are on top of things and are still growing. And who knows how far they can fly this spaceship?

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More Pictures

01. Intro
02. Let It Happen
03. Mind Mischief
04. Why Won't They Talk to Me?
05. It Is Not Meant to Be
06. The Moment
07. Elephant
08. Yes I'm Changing
09. The Less I Know the Better
10. Eventually
11. Alter Ego
12. Oscilly
13. 'Cause I'm a Man
14. Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind?
15. Apocalypse Dreams
16. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
17. New Person, Same Old Mistakes

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