Tame Impala Prove Their Rock 'N' Roll Chops at Governors Ball 2015
Kevin Parker of Tame Impala at Governors Ball, 6/7/15
Jason Speakman for the Village Voice
For a band often recognized for the amazing sound quality of its live performances, it came as a pleasant surprise to see that Tame Impala's stage setup was simple and unassuming. There weren't many indications that one of contemporary rock 'n' roll's more defining acts was set to appear any minute, besides the obvious roster of instruments that adorned the stage's center. Zero towering Marshall amplifiers were stacked about in this stage design. Instead, a couple of modest Vox amps rested on the ground, and they appeared to be meticulously placed and expertly mic'd-up. The sole stage décor was hung in the back in the form of an inactive rectangular screen. This minimalism was welcome, given the sensory overload Governors Ball unleashed all weekend, but eventually the five members of Tame Impala stepped onto the main stage and embraced the roar of applause during their late-afternoon Sunday set.
Bandleader Kevin Parker was without shoes. Barefoot and amused, he grabbed ahold of his Rickenbacker, gave a quick greeting to the masses, and then cut straight to the chase. A minute-short jam developed, allowing the band to work out any kinks in their audio display. But as soon as it sounded right — which it most certainly did — Tame Impala spared no hesitation, ripping into "Let It Happen," the eight-minute space jam that serves as one of the four appetizers leading up to their impending third album, Currents. Once the music began, the backing screen flashed awake and supplied captivating graphics full of colorful vortices complementing the music throughout the show.
Two more cuts from Currents were eventually weaved into Tame Impala's ten-song, hour-short performance. "Eventually" and " 'Cause I'm a Man" got shuffled in and received resounding applause and chorus singalongs, a strong indication that Currents will be met with a warm reception upon its release on July 17.
The tight musicianship and coordination Tame Impala brought to the table was that of a band who have arrived at a creative oasis, and Parker, Cam Avery, Julien Barbagallo, Dominic Simper, and Jay Watson couldn't have appeared more focused as they performed their songs in a calm, virtuosic fashion.
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This is a band that could easily sketch out a two-and-a-half-hour set on a Friday night at a spacious venue, but on that balmy Sunday afternoon they made the most of a quick hour. With three tracks dedicated to their forthcoming release, Tame Impala dusted off "Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind?" from their debut, and the rest were highlights from their sophomore album, Lonerism.
Upon hearing the opening riff of "Elephant," the crowd got rowdy as hell. "Elephant" received a few shiny new updates, including a delectable breakdown that sounded like a few seconds had been lifted from the soundtrack to a classic Atari video game and then smoothly inserted into this rock song.
"This couldn't be a better end to our fuckin' marathon tour, so thank you guys!" Parker informed the crowd as the set began to wind down. The finale was reserved for "Apocalypse Dreams," with "This could be the day that we push through" being an apt sentiment to belt out there as he gazed out upon the sea of swarming supporters before him.
As "Apocalypse Dreams" ended and dwindled into oblivion, Parker took his final opportunity to express gratitude to the thousands who stopped by. Yet before the cheering swallowed them up, Tame Impala offered one last instrumental explosion, and Parker shot up into the air for a pause in momentary bliss.
Their marathon tour has concluded. Tame Impala are headed home.
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