Monday, 30 March 2009

Tame Impala – 11 March 2009, The Lexington

This is all rather odd. We’re at a gig and there’s nobody here we know. Just lots of Australians. Oh hang on Delia’s doing the door. Hurrah! Seeing her familiar smiling face makes us feel less bewildered.

This is Tame Impala’s second UK gig (I overhear the drummer saying “This is my third day out of Australia” – bless) and it seems to be a sort of record company (Modular Records) showcase – no support bands, no advance tickets, an eager crowd who break all the London gig rules by being excited and enthusiastic, clapping and whooping and generally acting like they’re enjoying the band. Pretty shocking stuff, but the band ARE enjoyable. Tame Impala play prog jazz hippy wiggy wig outs but with TUNES and funkiness. They have a Crybaby wah wah pedal, shaggy hair and teenage prodigy guitar fingers. Their songs conjure flickery sunlight through dappled leaves and super nova sunspots. Dazed and confused psychedelia for metal kids with mellow smiles.

Tame Impala are usually three, but are supplemented live by an extra guitar pixie boy in a far out hippy top. He’s the only one wearing shoes, the rest of the band are in bare feet. As it says on their Myspace they ‘like to play gigs in paddocks and other large areas of grass in the sun’, which is all very well, but this is London in Feb, so respect to Tame Impala’s dedication to the hippy way.

The bass player does some excellent hair swinging and at one point rips into a deeply growly bass riff that’s almost as good as Dungen’s ‘Du E For Fin For Mig’ a track that always makes me laugh out loud so good is its bass crunch. Ah, Dungen. The mention of their name in a Tame Impala review is what initially piqued my interest, and there are some definite Dungen-y moments tonight, the swirling ‘Desire Be Desire Go’ being the most obvious example, as well as the space jazz blissed-outness, the expanding midsong thousand-yard-stare jams, and the flowery reverbing across the cosmos.

We get seven songs from Tame Impala (though they’re all pretty long, what with the wig-outs and the, gulp, drum solos and all – value for money, innit?) including, quite madly, a sunfried, stoned psychfunk version of Blue Boy’s ‘Remember Me’…gan gaga gaga gan gan ga gan etc. The set ends with what seems to be regarded by this audience as Tame Impala’s ‘hit’. ‘Half Full Glass Of Wine’, a hip swinging chunk of riffalong catchiness, swoops all before it into an eight armed multi-coloured embrace of crunchy psych-rock. Num!

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