While much of Tame Impala’s sophomore album Lonerism focuses on feelings of solitude and desolation, Kevin Parker and company were anything but alone at St. Andrew’s Hall on Thursday night. The downtown venue was overflowing with a sold out crowd and Parker remarked about the surprising sweltering heat on a chilly Detroit night. The Perth, Australia quintet primarily focused on their highly lauded and ‘60s psychedelia leaning second effort. Revelers seemed to be ecstatic and drawn in with each new track.
Song titles like “Solitude Is Bliss” and “Half Full Glass Of Wine”, might make fans wonder if the band prefers performing by themselves. However, Tame Impala embraced Detroit and claimed it was good to be back after a long absence with sincerity. The only relatively solitary moment that band had was when Parker and keyboarder Jay Watson took a moment to jam and interact with the psychedelic screen at the back of the stage. The responsive light moved with each guitar riff and keystroke as the duo turned the projection into a glowing, swirling shape. Many have compared Parker’s vocals to the late John Lennon, but in a live setting his nasally tones and wails become much more unique. The melancholia of songs like “Feels Like We Only Go Backward” and “Apocalypse Dreams” had an amped up energy with Parker’s moan gleaming in lush instrumentation. Most fans would agree “Music To Walk Home By” sounded more akin to strutting than walking.
Lonerism left some critics describing the sound as washing over listeners, but Parker’s stage presence and many of the track’s progressive nature felt more like a sonic boom. Album opener “Be Above It” sounded almost militant with persistent percussion, while “Elephant” heated up the room a few degrees as Parker commanded the crowd. Also, am I the only one who thinks “Elephant” could easily line up next to The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” as an arena anthem? Hopefully, one of the festivals that booked Tame Impala this Spring/Summer (Coachella, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo) will do the band and fans justice by slotting them during sunset. I can’t think of anything more epic than saturating the fiery guitar riffs and synth hues of “Mind Mischief” as the sun goes down.
Whether Parker and Tame Impala stick with the theme of being abandoned on album #3 is left to be seen, but after this tour they certainly shouldn’t feel lonesome. The band’s prospects seem brighter than the hypnotic geometric shapes that grooved with every beat on the St. Andrew’s stage.
Solitude Is Bliss
Be Above It
Music To Walk Home By
Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind
Feels Like We Only Go Backward
It Is Not Meant To Be
Half Full Glass Of Wine
Nothing That Has Happened So Far Is Anything We Can Control