Tame Impala

Tame Impala


It has been four years since I had a chance to see Tame Impala play a gig in Manchester. Holidays, plus, I had missed them by about 3 months when moving here, and have been waiting ever since.

Tame Impala, whether you know them, like them or not, have been at the forefront of this modern psychedelia scene for a while now. Not only did the band form in 2007 when Kevin Parker uploaded a few tracks to Myspace (RIP), but in 2008 they started to explode in the Australian indie scene. Fast-forward nine years and I’m sat in the Manchester Arena with hundreds of neo-psych followers eager to see what all the fuss is about, but I know –  deep down I know this is going to be special. Critics and social media hounds alike may think Tame Impala are just like everyone else in this psychedelic circus, but really, they have helped bring the lost genre back into technicolour.

Keeping this tour very Aussie-Aussie-Aussie, Sydney pals Jagwar Ma walk on stage to a decently full room, the three of them look so small on a platform that has welcomed some rather big names in the past few months. A few years ago Jagwar Ma were dubbed the next big thing by Noel Gallagher, crediting them as the revival of the Madchester scene. But please don’t tell me their fame rode off the words of a Gallagher – these guys deserve every bit of attention they get. Yes, there are bits of Jagwar Ma that sound Madchester-eque, I suppose. They play faves tonight that include ‘The Throw’ ‘Obi-Wan’ and the dreamy ‘Man I Need’, occasionally acknowledging the six or seven lads in the crowd who haven’t stopped jumping since they came on. Jagwar Ma are incredible live, and I feel my eyes spiraling to the beat of ‘Come Save Me’. It’s a bit Nine Inch Nails circa Pretty Hate Machine, all synth and industrial-based, and that’s why I love it.

Nine o’clock and it’s time for this gig. Tame Impala are known for their kaleidoscopic light shows when they perform live, so I knew we wouldn’t be left out. ‘Let It Happen’ from their latest album Currents gets the kids moving their feet, blowing away any negative reviews the band may have received for it not being “very psych at all”. But in this very moment, right now, nobody cares about those remarks, it’s bloody Tame Impala and they’re standing in front of us now, so shut it.

The band move on through ‘Mind Mischief’ and a few more off the new album, but 2012’s ‘Elephant’ absolutely steals the show and cups fly and those crazy kids get up on the shoulders of their mates in the crowd. Someone lights a flare (I know) and that’s when it’s obvious that this moment deserves to be at an outdoor festival in the summer sun, but it’s so good that you just feel like you are already outside.

The lights, the lasers and the smoke tonight work seamlessly with Tame Impala’s space-infused tunes. Innerspeaker‘s ‘Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind’ gets a little trippy and we’re treated to a burst of confetti over the crowd. Tame Impala appear more confident than ever, justifying just how deserving they are to play arena shows and headline top festivals.

A short encore and the aussie sensations regroup on stage. To no surprise, ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ begins and everyone grabs the person next to them in one big swaying sing-a-long. The lights spiral and twitch and we can hardly stand still. It’s pretty spectacular.

The night ends just as it started, on a high note with ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’, another gem from their latest effort. Not only have they impressed tonight with flying colours, but have done so with such eloquence that it will be hard to find another gig that will top this. Ripping through Currents, and still digging deep into their back catalogue of dreamy, stoner munchies, we all leave feeling a little higher.

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Brit Jean

One time time Gigs Editor over here at Silent Radio HQ. I've been music blogging and writing in Manchester for the past few years after graduating with a Literature degree back home in Canada. Never have I experienced a city quite like Manchester - so many great gigs and so little time! In 2014 I started an Independent Record label, Blak Hand Records with my best mate, and we aim to put out some of our favourite garage rock and psychedelic artists from both Liverpool and Manchester.