Live Review

Tame Impala, Brixton Academy, London

It feels much more intimate than the nearly 5,000 strong crowd.

Having just released new record ‘Lonerism’, which has been showered in praise, Tame Impala are playing their biggest show to date tonight at London’s Brixton Academy.

But first up are Young Dreams who impress with their warm analogue melodies, tropical riffs, airtight harmonies and a psychedelic tint that could pass them off as the headliners’ younger brother. The band clearly look nervous and taken aback at playing in such a colossal venue, but take it in their stride as they fill Brixton with their summery sound in contrast to the misty cold that fills the air in London tonight. Yes, the Beach Boys-esque arrangements have been well and truly overdone by now, but Young Dreams’ infectious rhythms do work well beside them.

Main support The Amazing are the evening’s anomaly, their overblown prog merely strolling through their half-hour set, lacking the vitality that both Young Dreams and Tame Impala will show tonight.

While waiting for the headliners, testing for visuals starts as a singular green dot appears on the screen. It’s soon apparent as the Australian five-piece start playing that this is a different kind of visual show.

As the opening bars of ‘Be Above It’ come in, patterns form behind the screen in accordance to the notes being played to create a surreal visual experience. On top of being both musically and visually demanding, Kevin Parker’s faultless vocals soar through Brixton Academy and pack a punch. From the off, this is obviously a special night for Tame Impala and their fans are revelling in it.

The songs from 2010’s ‘Innerspeaker’ get unbelievable cheers and despite the size of the venue, you can feel the warmth of the crowd as they play ‘Solitude Is Bliss’. It feels much more intimate than the nearly 5,000 strong crowd.

‘Elephant’, the lead single from ‘Lonerism’, sends the audience in to a frenzy with its stomping bassline and that irresistibly catchy lyric ‘and it feels like an elephant shaking his big fat trunk for the hell of it’. Mid-song, there’s a crazy, improvisational drum solo. As the set reaches its end, the visuals become more complex and hypnotic, as an eye slowly unfurls from the centre of the screen. Parker beams as he says ‘you’re all being so nice to us tonight’ and it feels like they can’t quite get over the evening as he goes on to add ‘you’re like the cream of the crop, you put the rest of Europe to shame’.

By the time it comes to closer ‘Apocalypse Dreams’, a fitting closer, it feels as if it’s too soon for the five-piece to leave the stage. As they exit, the applause slowly mounts up and it’s not long before they’re back for an encore - ‘Half Full Glass Of Wine’. Translated live it takes on a completely different form from the original recording, as they extend and expand on everything. But it’s that repeated scuzzy riff that really gets the crowd going. Surpassing all expectations, Tame Impala have put on a most memorable and spectacular show.

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