Tame Impala Rocks Fox


Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker sings to the crowd at the Fox Theater on May 29.

Luther Kuefner, Staff Writer

Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala performed at the Fox Theater in Oakland to a sold-out crowd on May 29. The band performed songs almost exclusively from their new album, Lonerism, while sprinkling the set with original jams and older songs.

This show also follows the departure of former Tame Impala bass player, Nick Allbrook. According to the Tame Impala twitter feed, Allbrook left the band on May 17 in order to focus on his other rock projects, including another psychedelic rock band, Pond. Bassist Cam Avery joined the band, and seems to have assimilated successfully.

Frontman Kevin Parker records the albums by himself, but brings a band for live performances. While the music may be his brainchild, Tame Impala as a band executed the songs without any mishaps.

The beginning of the show didn’t include any spectacles or suspenseful buildups. Tame Impala sauntered on-stage, casually waving to the audience, and began to perform an original jam, before entering into the commanding guitar riff of “Solitude is Bliss.” Throughout the show, the band would segue a jam into an actual song. These jam sessions not only broke up the predictability of the setlist, but also provided new music for the audience.

Parker had a casual appearance, contradicting his rockstar status. He performed with bare feet, and still dawned his wristband from the Tame Impala show at the Sasquatch Music Festival in Washington. He never raised his voice while talking to audience, but he still managed to captivate the majority of the crowd.

The use of distortion and reverb created an atmosphere that warped any preconceived notions of their songs. Each song came to life, especially the heavy instrumental tracks, including “Endors Toi” and  “Apocalypse Dream.” However, Tame Impala proved they could rally an audience, with the ruckus of “Elephant.” Parker’s vocals soared above the instruments, especially notable in “Music to Walk Home By” and “Why Won’t They Talk To Me.” One of the most beautiful moments of the show was during the emotional revelation of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” where a sea of lighters floated while Parker poured out his soul.

While many of the songs revolve around ostracism and solitude (hence their past 2 album title, Innerspeaker and Lonerism), it’s interesting how so many people came to the show. Can a sold-out crowd actually relate to the idea of being alone? Perhaps the themes in Tame Impala’s music are more universal than the cries of isolation of the songs suggest.

To end the show, the band dived into a ten minute arrangement of one of their earliest songs, “Half Full Glass of Wine.” The trippy, repetitive guitar solo in the middle transcended the theater, seeming to pull sounds from across the spectrum. Overall, the show was enlightening, delivering a rich, all-encompassing setlist.