With just a handful of tour dates left on what has seemingly been an non-stop international tour since the release of their new album Lonerism, Tame Impala dropped by Oakland's Fox Theater this Wednesday. I probably don't need to explain how much recognition and acclaim--fan & critic alike--the Aussie psyche rockers have garnered in the past eight months since that album's release. However, while their early tour stop across the Bay at San Francisco's Fillmore last November blew enough minds (mine included), Tame Impala's Fox Theater set demonstrated just how much they've grown on the road.
Last August, I made sure to make an early leap at Bart & the snail-slow MUNI to ensure I caught Tame Impala's Outside Lands Festival set in Golden Gate Park. Not unlike the Local Natives' set at Fox Theater this January, that Tame Impala set featured a talented band, yet a band that had obviously spent more recent time in the studio rather than the road. Those early tour shows offer a unique experience in themselves and looking back on Tame Impala's Outside Lands' set just nine months ago seems fallacious. The band responsible for that adequate afternoon festival set is now arguably the tightest, most well-oiled touring rock act of 2013.
Taking a quick look at the origins of the Tame Impala crew is important to back up that last hyperbole-prone sentence. While the band is originally solely Kevin Parker's own project, Parker's friend group is no stranger to music. One peak at the "associated acts" of the Tame Impala wiki and you'll get the drift. This is a group of pals that have been playing together in various forms for years. And that instantly comes through in the live setting. While I know some gripe about the lack of showmanship or stage presence from Tame Impala, there's know denying the utter chemistry and collective groove they establish together. Moreover, with the loss of longtime bassist Nick Allbrook just a week or two before the show, there were no slip-ups or errors in the air-tight set. Their ability to launch into dense, complex, five minute psyche explorations in the middle of hits before landing right back into the chorus on a dime (like "Elephant") was not compromised.
I understand if deep groove, melodic psyche rock is not your cup of tea and you might be looking for more stage antics and such. But for pure musical composition, catchiness and accessibility, it's simply tough to beat Tame Impala these days. And with as many dates as the dudes have had together refining the details of the Lonerism-era set, they may very be at their peak for this album cycle.Tame Impala Tour Dates