Tame Impala rock Echostage
The band’s 2015 U.S. tour ends on a high note in D.C.
Summary: The Australian group bring their unique psychedelic-rock sound and their artistic light show to D.C. on Saturday night.
In the humid concert venue, the crowd eagerly cheers on the men dressed in white lab coats who rush across the stage to set up various keyboards and tune different guitars. Fans of Tame Impala know that the process of setting up the instruments is as crucial as the performance itself. Every microphone, drum, and pedal has to be in the right place so the group can recreate the chilled psychedelic-rock tunes that they are known for.
When the lights finally dim, a green laser beam is projected onto the background of the stage, moving around faster and faster until the one beam turns into many and Tame Impala walk onto the stage shyly. The screaming escalates for a few seconds, but as the five musicians get situated and start playing their instrumental “Intro,” the fans quiet down to take in the sight before them.
Tame Impala is the name that frontman Kevin Parker records and performs under. He writes, sings, and produces almost all of his tracks, calling them a product of “sudden brain spasm[s] of musical emotion” on his Ask Me Anything session with fans on Reddit in April 2015. It was on this AMA that Tame Impala released the third single from the upcoming album Currents, titled “Disciples.”
The first single off of Currents, which is set to be released on July 17th, is “Let It Happen,” which “Intro” smoothly transitions into, emphasizing the song’s idea of letting go. With the background screen filled with a medley of bright colors that, according to Parker’s AMA, he “sees” when he imagines the music, along with the singer’s soothing voice crooning into the microphone, the boys on stage get lost in their instruments with looks of concentration on their faces while they dance along to the beats they create.
The pace slows down for the classic “Mind Mischief” from Tame Impala’s sophomore album Lonerism. The colors change from warm pinks to cool greens and blues, almost signifying the character’s relief that “she remembers my name,” which the crowd passionately sings along to. After this lyrical realization in the song, the pink color oozes back into the mix, bringing along with it excitement and happiness.
The next song is another throwback from the band’s debut album Innerspeaker, called “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?” The song is a mix of confused emotions, matched by the flurry of colors and shapes moving quickly along the screen. The anxiety is clear in Parker’s voice as he kicks one of his bare feet out in frustration, fans singing back the question to him.
During a break from the music, the singer comments on the crowd, noting that “most other crowds aren’t as cool” what with all the crowd surfing. He reminds fans to take care of each other before proceeding to play the final single from Currents, “Eventually.” Thus far, this song is the most different from Tame Impala’s old tunes, with an instrumental that is accentuated by Parker’s voice, whereas it on previous albums it was almost always the other way around.
Parker mentions in his AMA that “Eventually” is a song that is “still very moving for [him] to listen to even after 951520974 listens and mixes.” With his eyes shut and his grip on the microphone firm, that heavy emotion is easily felt by the crowd who gently sing along with the frontman as he sings, “and I know that I’ll be happier, and I know you will too.”
Tame Impala bring the night to an end with their jam “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.” Parker puts down his guitar for this Lonerism favorite, and instead walks around to the different sides of the stage to get close to the fans who are eagerly waiting to catch his attention. Then, during the closing song “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control,” Tame Impala slow things down to really highlight their psychedelic roots.
On the screen behind them are blobs of funky colors joined by the contrasting black and white live, zoomed-in images of individual band members. The crowd is silent, wanting to take in every second of the last song of the night, and the boys are dancing around slowly, making sure they end the show perfectly.
When the song is over, the five seem reluctant to leave the stage, but look content with their performance. They walk away slowly, returning smiles and waves to their fans. Various shouts of “I love you” and “see you soon” travel off the stage with them.