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TAME IMPALA @ Wave House gets 8/10


Tame Impala @ Wave House

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

8/10

When Kevin Parker lugged all the musical equipment he had to his name in mid-2009 down south to a studio overlooking pristine beachside bushland in Yallingup, only in his wildest dreams would he have thought that he would have the dosh to purchase the sprawling 20 hectare property barely a decade later.

This afternoon’s live streaming show not only commemorates the 10th anniversary of the 11 year old Tame Impala debut album, Innerspeaker, but it might also hopefully mark the beginning of the end of a bizarre but productive year for Parker and his bandmates. For Tame Impala, the pandemic brought a halt to their global touring plans for their 2020 album, The Slow Rush. So while many around the world were confined to their houses, Parker took this time to see how he could make live streamed performances something that more closely resembles the live experience, rather than a poorly lit person strumming in front of a webcam in an empty room.

It’s easy to see how far he has come – it was last ANZAC Day when Parker contributed a solo acoustic version of On Track to Mushroom’s fundraiser streamed concert, and the imagination and production on show was rapidly one-upped with each outing. Almost every week new videos were airing on US talk shows featuring the live band stripped down to a three-piece “sound system,” while the FIFA “21 mini-concert” on Perth Glory’s pitch and Keep On Lying featuring a dozen Kevins to promote Adobe (RIP Chuck Geschke) showed that it was possible to keep busy despite the varying levels of restrictions we faced in WA.

It seemed bizarre a few weeks back at the WAMAwards that the one song Tame Impala chose to play at their frustratingly short set was Innerspeaker’s first single, Solitude is Bliss, and not one of their more recent “bangers.” With the announcement of a global live streaming event days after that outing, it all made sense.

Tame Impala had the same line-up on our screens as they did at His Majesty’s Theatre a few weeks ago: Dom Simper joining Parker on guitar; Jay Watson handling that familiar Hofner bass; and Julien Barbagallo back behind the kit. While recent fans might have been more accustomed to seeing the singer in Saint Laurent sneakers, it was fitting to see Parker barefoot again as he led his band into It Is Not Meant To Be; his ode to the hazier, lazier side of life. Surrounded by a myriad of cameras, some fixed and some giving us 360 degree glances via handheld gimbals, we took in the same outlook that Parker had 12 years ago. Beyond the open plan kitchen and living area, adorned with Innerspeaker blankets worth only $175 plus shipping, was the Indian Ocean, the setting sun and bunch of trees – that’s the South West for you.

The big question for today’s show was about whether it was actually live. There’s a few reason why it may not be: Australia has bad internet; regional areas in Australia have even worse internet; the sun seemed to set at least 20 minutes earlier in video than it did up here in the metropolitan area; and the DSLR cameras positioned around the room did not appear to be plugged into anything, suggesting post-production might have been involved.

Does that take away from the DIY nature they were trying to achieve? Not at all. As the gents started playing Lucidity, the cameraman’s hand appeared to attach a filter that created a kaleidoscopic effect. You could see some of the roving cameramen were members of POND, who were also not opposed to picking up an egg shaker when the mood called for it.

The second half of the performance would have appeased the avid Redditors out there, where a large number of die hard fans spend phases of their lives debating whether Jeremy’s Storm or Runaway Houses City Clouds is actually the most epic Tame guitar song of all time. These tunes, played in the dark with the sun fully set, demonstrated how accomplished Parker was as a musician and songwriter in his early twenties, while his dedication to his craft in the years since showed how far his voice has come since the early recordings.

I Don’t Really Mind ended the show before a few minutes of guitar feedback and mumbled banter led to roll credits. Despite Parker’s creativity now being several galaxies away musically from the fuzzy psych sounds of 2010, it was easy to tell that he enjoyed regrouping the band and revisiting an album that meant so much to him, and to WA music in general. But as this was the live band’s first longer length showing in over a year, one more hour or so would have really hit the spot – perhaps revisits of their debut EP and early stand-alone singles would have gone down a treat.

MATTHEW HOGAN

 

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