Live Review: Tame Impala at Ogden Theatre, with White Denim, 10/28/13
It's not exactly an original observation at this point to note how the members of Tame Impala are revivalists that evoke the spirit of '60s and '70s sound; yet when the band begins its set with songs like "Desire Be, Desire Go," "Keep on Lying" and "Solitude is Bliss," it's impossible not to drawn comparisons to the likes of John Lennon and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. With introspective, reflective lyrics and expansive, sometimes frenetic, instrumental interludes, the band made it feel like we'd walked in on one glorious, perfect garage jam session.
See also: Tame Impala at the Bluebird, 12/4/10
Physically, Tame Impala fits the bill of a retro garage act, too. Long strands of hair fall over their eyes as they played, and while approachable, they still managed to be slightly mysterious, even with frequent crowd interaction from frontman Kevin Parker. Visually, the projected images and undulating strings of pulsing color lent themselves to an over-arching psychedelic experience that was soaked up by everyone in the house, from aging hipsters to the scattered groups of glowstick-baring college kids presumably toying with hallucinogens.
With songs like the catchy "Music to Walk Home By" and "Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind?" the band worked its way through material that seemed instantly memorable and strangely familiar, as the guys explored themes of independence and isolation with lush, piled harmonies, and a hypnotic exuberance. It was a personal journey that we all took together, swaying in a state of wakeful dreaming.
The subliminal "Be Above It" and "Apocalypse Dreams" enticed with sound experimentation and a swirling visual of tunnel vision, beckoning fans into the bright, upbeat contrast of the hit "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards." When you come out of a show like this one, it feels as if you're snapping out of a period of active reflection, leaving the world of modernly-executed psychedelia that Parker had briefly opened for us.
Spastic Austin trio White Denim started the show earlier with a set that felt like a less focused version of the very same happened-upon garage jam: the musical shift from mood to mood was maniacal and joyous, moving between bluesy, Dan Auerbach-channeling vocals from frontman James Petralli and classic rock riffs and echoes of the Black Crowes and rambling, jammy respites. Of the many songs of note, "Pretty Green," from 2013's Corsicana Lemonade (which was produced with help from Wilco's Jeff Tweedy) is a memorable, addictive rock jam that the whole trio shined on.
Personal Bias: I listed Lonerism as my favorite album of the year last year, and almost a year later, I stick by that.
Random Detail: As immense as Tame Impala's sound can feel live, the band makes it all seem so effortless -- besides a kissing of the guitar at the end of the show from Parker, stage presence from all members was mellow.
By the Way: It's impossible not to move your body to this.
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