Returning to Portland and playing the Crystal Ballroom, November 4, Australian psychedelic space rockers Tame Impala arrive a month earlier than originally scheduled. The band was to open for Vampire Weekend for the December 4 date of local alternate rock station 94/7 KNRK December to Remember concert series. The show was one of the first concerts to sell out during the first day of the station’s presale. Important note to those who do have tickets to the December 4 show, and per 94/7 FM KNRK’s website, tickets are valid for both shows, so keep ‘em if you got ‘em to make sure you can catch Vampire Weekend next month.
It’s been a long two years since Tame Impala’s performances in 2010 at the Doug Fir and Crystal Ballroom in May and December, respectively. The band was promoting their full length debut, Innerspeak. This month’s concert will be the third time in six months Portlanders get a chance to catch the band, having played the Crystal Ballroom May 26 before the heading to year’s Sasquatch Music Festival, an event which had some technical and scheduling issues that required moving to a smaller stage and stage area which quickly became packed with excited fans eager to hear the band’s psychedelic vibe. The band featured songs from their latest release, Lonerism, and gave an inspired psychedelic party groove along with a mood enhancing light show.
Recent history aside, the band has created modern version of the late 60s, early 70s psychedelic dreamy jams. Strong influences can be drawn from the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Blue Cheer, and even early Black Sabbath. Incorporating a low-fi vibe of subdued drums and deep fuzzy bass lines, their sound is filled out by the rhythmic distorted guitar riffs that flow in waves throughout their Innerspeak and Lonerism albums. Intros range from peaceful, clean electric guitar passages that quickly transform into blown amplified distortion. And soaring above all the sonic adventure are the Beastlesque vocals of Kevin Parker that range from dreamy echoes of A Day in the Life, “Someone spoke and I went into a dream…” to the murky trudging of Blue Jay Way. All the while, Tame Impala employs the gritty jam of I Want You (She’s So Heavy).
Despite the notable influences the band builds on and explores their own musical odyssey, creatively expanding their expressions. Tame Impala consists of Perth, Australia childhood chums Kevin Parker on vocals, guitar, and multi-instrumentalist, Jay Watson on drums, backing vocals and synths, and Dominic Simper former bassist turned guitarist and providing backing vocals. The band has been joined by Cam Avery who has taken over bass duties upon the recent departure of Nick Allbrook. Also joining the live installment of Tame Impala is Julien Barbagallo on drum and backing vocals.
Where Innerspeak offered a bluesy psychedelic rock groove, Lonerism explores a slightly lighter synthesized sound to enhance the aural spectrum the band’s floating space jams, and crafting a increased pop effort. Parker’s lyrical journey travels the trails of personal introspection, reflecting on his awareness and emotion conflict. Does it change or stay the same? Sometimes it resolves in its own way, all with the back drop of tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
If you missed their May performance and the December to Remember presale, you have one more chance to catch Tame Impala before they return home. A few tickets are still available for their final U.S. tour concert at 107.7 The End’s Deck The Hall Ball in Seattle before heading home to summer down under and numerous performances at the Big Day Out Festival in Australia.