Universally adored by critics and stoners alike, Australian outfit Tame Impala have become one of the most captivating bands to emerge in the last decade; their signature blend of introspective, psych-driven rock and revelatory live performances have set them apart from the rest of the indie rock pack.
Led by the virtuosic Kevin Parker and his unmistakeable falsetto, the band took to the Métropolis stage yesterday evening (May 20) for the first of two sold-out Montreal tour dates. Armed with four new tracks off their upcoming (and highly anticipated) third album, Currents, Tame Impala's well paced, heavy hitting set demonstrated what a modern rock band is truly capable of.
Opening the night were Los Angeles-based power trio Mini Mansions. Unlike most other bands that mosey onto the stage before the main act and give a quick, shy "hello," Mini Mansions instead commanded attention, no introductions needed, as their name stood beside them illuminated in large block letters. Zach Dawes, their mesmerising bassist, even began to grind the neck of his guitar against the letters of their name, just in case your attention was wavering. Formerly of Queens of the Stone Age, singer Michael Shuman stood centre stage, his voice rising effortlessly from seductive growl to high-pitched wail at a moment's notice.
All three band members were clad in colourful pants-and-blazer combinations, oozing effortless cool and undeniable skill. Leaving with the entire crowd screaming and ladies swooning, it was clear that Mini Mansions were the perfect warm-up band for Tame Impala, even if though they might have easily sold out their own gig.
Confronted with an unexplained technical difficult right off the bat, Tame Impala's Kevin Parker announced triumphantly — after a few static minutes and a brief band powwow — that they had finally "sorted [their] shit out." Launching into "Let It Happen" as little chimneys of smoke began to rise up from pockets of the crowd, everyone who wasn't sitting down immediately beginning to bob and sway to the bright, hypnotizing, kaleidoscopic swirls and morphing vortexes of colour projected onto the stage. Weaving effortlessly through recognizable tracks from Innerspeaker, Lonerism and their forthcoming Currents, it was clear that Tame Impala knew what their crowd wanted, and when — a mild but sizeable mosh pit formed during the first few lines of "Elephant."
Just when you thought that their set was becoming predictable, the lights went down, leaving only Parker in a green spotlight. Turning around to face a dark screen and a green, pulsating orb, he used his guitar to the pulse, as the orb responded to each movement he made and the notes that he plucked, as the crowd descended into a mesmerized silence.
Hurling into the latter part of their set with vigour, the band turned new favourites like "Eventually" into dissonance-heavy jam tracks, the entire band completely in sync with each other's every move. Finishing with an encore of "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards," and "Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control," Tame left the crowd buzzing, briefly waiting for a second encore to magically happen.