Photography: Nata Moraru

TAME IMPALA

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  • Nicholas Allbrook
SJM Concerts @ The Olympia 9/9/15

Every so often a gig comes along that seems to announce the arrival of something special or capture a moment in time. Everything seems to align – the right place, the right time, the crowd and the perfect band – for a night that feels momentous. Tonight could just be one of those nights.

A slight, wild-haired young man resplendent in a gold dress fires out the initial warning shots. NICHOLAS ALLBROOK treats the already sizeable crowd to a set which veers dramatically from the sublime to the mentally ill. Alone with only a guitar and backing track for protection, the lead singer of TAME IMPALA’s touring buddies Pond (and one time Tame Impala bassist) remains mesmerising throughout. Though his vocal can be jarring as he screams out into the Olympia’s cavernous Art Deco interior, there is an air of control – method in the madness. Such a moment of clarity arrives with track The Man’s Not Me from his Allbrook/Avery project.

Despite the warm reception Allbrook receives, there is little doubt who the sold-out crowd have come to see on this overcast Wednesday evening. Tame Impala have that indefinable but incredibly valuable commodity: cross-over appeal. Everyone is here tonight, from the psychedelic old guard to young sun-chasers in vibrant tie-dye and paisley. Summer may be coming to an end but there is no sign of any autumnal gloom.

The projections and light show are worth the entrance fee alone as a spectrum of kaleidoscopic patterns are cast over the young five-piece. They perfectly complement Kevin Parker’s sonic vision as arms reach high (as do more videophones than is acceptable) as Let It Happen is met with an ecstatic response. 2013’s Lonerism may be the album which piqued the attention of the masses but it is clearly Currents, released earlier this year, which has taken the Antipodean hype-machine up a level.

The Moment brings out the best of all parts of the psych pop juggernaut, but Parker knows to which track he owes so much of his success so far. Once he has received confirmation from each section of the mammoth crowd that they are ready, he and his cronies launch into the bassy behemoth Elephant. Stand-out track ‘Cause I’m A Man keeps people’s feet moving and initiates a blissed-out singalong. At this point, you feel the band are vital and on the brink of achieving even bigger things.

Drummer Julien Barbagallo reveals himself as the band’s secret weapon as he introduces the encore with what Parker calls an “automatic kickdrum orchestra”. Throughout the set he has brought down the tempo before building to dramatic, euphoric drops and created all kinds of sounds from his kit. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards is a high point of the set and the Western Aussies depart with another Lonerism track, Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control. While this was maybe not the perfect closer, little can take away the Cheshire-cat smiles which adorn the faces of the Olympia’s satisfied customers tonight.

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