2010’s breakthough rock’n’roll masterpiece had to be Innerspeaker. No doubt about it. An album of beautifully crafted psychedelica. Having waited a lifetime to witness it live, two treats in a month. Sound.
Seeing Tame Impala at midday on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury was strange. Maybe it was the cider-fuelled carnival of the night before taking its toll. But it just didn’t seem to work. I wouldn’t say they were out of their depth, it was just too distant. I’m a pretty weak critic, but it disappointed.
This is about the Sound Control gig though, and an intimacy far more suiting. My first visit to Sound Control told me two things. First, that the gig room is like a massive shed. Second, that aforementioned shed is a better version of academy 3.
From the first note of set opener Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind, it was apparent that this was where Tame Impala belong. Lead Single Solitude Is Bliss draws the first crowd movement. However, it’s more about appreciating these guys than getting involved. They are happy to mooch through their songs without fuss, hassle or even a care in the world.
Tame Impala perform ‘Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind’ for the awesome Yours Truly.
Tame Impala ‘Solitude Is Bliss’
Relaxed frontman Kevin Parker casually switches between soundscaping pedals. Bassist Nick Allbrook’s basslines are funkier than his hair, which is really funky. As calm as they all are, the music is tight and the rhythm is much more apparent in this environment.
Tame Impala “Expectation’
Expectation is quality. An album highlight showcasing the best they have to offer live. A uniquely explosive cover of Massive Attack’s Angel grabs everyone. Parker’s voice is fantastically patterned, truly piercing. EP banger Half Full Glass of Wine highlights draws things to a close in epically prolonged fashion.
Tame Impala ‘Half Full Glass Of Wine’
The impressive thing is seeing each song reworked for the live setting. Extended outro’s, improvised solo’s. Without saying much, the band fancy their music to do the talking and fair play to them. You would do if you wrote an album so stunning.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like something is still missing. Don’t get me wrong, the ingredients are there. However, if you’re going to see Tame Impala expecting to be blown away, I’d say you might be disappointed. Parts of the set seemed to drag and for the casual listeners of Manchester at the gig, enthusiasm lacked.
Still, if you’re ready to observe and appreciate experimental rock ‘n’ roll, then you are on the money. An improvement on two weeks ago, and I’ll be well up for catching them next time we cross paths.
PHOTO by Nicole Horrette
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