If Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker really wants to shake the psychedelic tag as much as he claims, he's going to have to ditch the morphing oscilloscope projections and thick clouds of pot smoke that accompany the band's live shows. Not that either detracted from the Australian group's most recent Toronto appearance — many would argue they enhanced it.
Tame Impala, a five-piece onstage, kicked things off with "Be Above It," the syncopated drums filling the venue before the guitars kicked in. Parker has developed a bit of a rep as a perfectionist and Tame Impala's live show only benefits: The group were on point, hitting every change in the complex arrangements that make up the band's latest triumph, Lonerism. The sound mix was surprisingly sharp with the swirling guitars never overpowering the vocals on tracks like "Solitude Is Bliss" and "Endors Toi."
The mix did, however, favour the guitars over the intricate keyboard work that forms the backbone of the band's latest. But that didn't stop the group from delivering a one-two punch with a barnstorming take on "Elephant" (where the band were let loose from the strict confines of Parker's arrangements to jam out a bit) followed by "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards." "Desire Be Desire Go," the highlight from previous effort Innerspeaker, sounded lightweight in comparison.
While Parker doesn't exactly frame himself as the charismatic frontperson — he spent as much time staring at the aforementioned oscilloscope that he controls from the stage as he did mumbling into the mic — it was clear the band were pleased with the crowd and their performance, as Parker got on his knees for some guitar histrionics during set closer "Apocalypse Dreams."
Tame Impala returned to the stage for "Half Full Glass of Wine," which took on a far more Krautrocking groove in comparison to the version recorded for their debut EP. Parker even managed to get the sold-out audience to clap along — with surprisingly precise rhythm — leading to an epic high in a night filled with them.
To see Exclaim!'s Tame Impala photo gallery, courtesy of Fil ZuZarte, head here.