Live review: Tame Impala – Brisbane Entertainment Centre – 18th October 2022

It’s been an age between drinks for Tame Impala and Brisbane, and with a sold-out Entertainment Centre clamouring to greet Kevin Parker and the boys, what couldn’t go perfectly right?

First up was local legend-in-the-making Sycco who looked born to do it on a stage this big and received a huge response from an already half-full Entertainment Centre for her efforts, most especially on final track ‘Dribble’.


Next came Genesis Owusu and a lesson in owning a stage by sheer presence and force of personality alongside an energetic vocal performance and some killer lyrics. It’s hard to nail down just one thing that makes the Ghanaian-Australian such a powerful act when he seems to have it all; recent track ‘GTFO’ went down particularly well and lyrically could be Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name’ for a new generation. There’s absolutely no stopping this guy based on this performance.

Genesis Owusu

The members of Tame Impala saunter onto the stage amid a retina-searing light display, dense dry ice, and reverberating screams of appreciation from a heaving Entertainment Centre, with Parker looking entirely unfazed by the circumstances in which he found himself. This is a band that has grown from its relatively humble WA psych-rock roots to be the international festival headliner it now is, so it’s easy to see why this experience is all in a day’s work for the multi-instrumentalist master. His show takes a simple approach: give the audience what it wants, do it in style, and do it BIG.

Tame Impala

This is the ‘Slow Rush’ tour, so that album’s songs feature heavily at all the big moments, including opener ‘One More Year’ and early tracks ‘Borderline’ and ‘Breathe Deeper’. However, having been around for over 14 years and with a back catalogue that most bands would die for, Parker and the gang can pull from all corners of their varied career and strike a chord with anything they pull out of the bag, as with ‘Nangs’, ‘Apocalypse Dreams’, and ‘Elephant’, before which Parker enquires of the crowd’s willingness to “get a little wild” – which it does in spades.

It was during an extended ‘Let it Happen’ that one of the band’s trademark moments comes with the launch of the confetti cannons at the drop, before a chilled-out ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ provided a cool counterpoint. This left only the need for a big finish to top off the show, which came in the form of ‘The Less I Know the Better’ and ‘One More Hour’.

It was all a truly mind-melting visual experience; the lighting was simultaneously mesmerising, trippy, and, at times, almost difficult not to turn away from. But in terms of Australian music, this band’s live experience is up with there with the very best. It definitely wasn’t slow; it definitely WAS a rush.

For Scenestr

Record review: Tame Impala – Currents (2015, LP)

tame impala currents

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who survive, but the ones most responsive to change” is a misquote often attributed to Charles Darwin, and it’s an idea vocalist and songwriter Kevin Parker seems acutely attuned to on Tame Impala’s contender-for-album-of-the-year third LP. Psych-rock has been the name of the game up to now, but would you expect such an accomplished band to trundle out the same smack as before? “They say people never change, but that’s bullshit,” Parker sings defiantly on ‘Yes, I’m Changing’, as guitars make way to more electronic (read: dance and pop) elements than on any TI release thus far, with notable exceptions ‘Eventually’ and the goofy disco-funk of ‘The Less I Know the Better’. His love of ‘90s Michael Jackson shows in ‘Love Paranoia’, while ‘Gossip’ recalls 1998-era Air and ‘Past Life’ gets deep into dreampop territory. There’s no big rock number in the vein of ‘Desire Be Desire Go’ or ‘Elephant’, but the addition of one doesn’t feel like it would be a good idea. In fact, this is the most coherent Tame Impala release yet. These are the times, people: some of the best Australian music is being made right here, right now. Well, in Fremantle, to be precise. Currents is the sound of Parker dropping his guard and embracing everything he loves about great pop music.

For The Brag

Live review: Tame Impala + The Growl – The Tivoli, Brisbane – December 2012


Tame Impala are riding high right now; of that there can be no argument. Receiving heaped praise, awards, and inclusions in many album-of-2012 lists, the Western Australia band are enjoying a particularly purple patch since the release of second album Lonerism. Live shows, on the other hand, are a completely different basket of bananas, with mainman Kevin Parker recently describing his new live band as a “small, five-man orchestra;” as he felt the need to add a new touring member in order to incorporate the new layers of sound found on Lonerism. A sold out Tivoli, legions of fans queueing down the street, and a hot Brisbane Wednesday night awaits the psych-rock quintet as we look forward to hearing some new sounds. Tame Impala, our minds are yours for the evening.

Openers The Growl are under way as I arrive into the already bulging Tivoli; the Fremantle junkyard rockers are mashing together a depraved digest of noises from a stage bathed in a deep blue glow. At first I take them for a manic avant-garde outfit, but they quickly win me over with their irreverent racket, complete with frontman Cameron Avery’s brilliantly-bluesy voice and hand-on-hip mannerisms that remind of a scruffy Pelle Almqvist. The band’s two drummers hit the skins hard enough to raise the dead on the excellent ‘Cleaver Lever’, and before they sign off, Avery requests that “Everybody gets home safe. Don’t drink and drive!” while seeming genuinely pleased and grateful to be playing on the Tivoli stage. Upon completion of their set, I have no real idea what I just saw and heard, but I know my ringing ears liked it – check them out.

The Tivoli is now filling to bursting point, and I get the impression there are many people here who don’t regularly go to gigs; the type who treat the experience as a chance to get catastrophically wasted and shamble around the place like lobotomised chimps. But not to worry, Tame Impala take to a stage now awash with amber and red lighting, smoke, and effects, as ‘Be Above It’ – conveniently the first song off the new album – starts up, before the music quickly melts into ‘Solitude is Bliss’, which sounds pretty damn fantastic, and simultaneously thunderous.

The next few songs flip between those from Lonerism and Innerspeaker, and for me, the earlier songs are superior, or at least they sound so played live. ‘It is Not Meant to Be’ sounds much fatter compared to ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’, although the majority of the Tivoli audience lose their shit during the new songs, most notably on ‘Elephant’, which sees a mini mosh-pit break out several metres from the stage. My own desire to pogo withheld, I particularly enjoy the one-two of ‘Lucidity’ and ‘Alter Ego;’ the latter being probably the best thing the band has done in this writer’s opinion.

A fine finishing trio of ‘Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?,’ ‘Desire Be, Desire Go,’ and ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ round out a deafening set, before the band come back on for one last epic jam, complete with The Growl’s Cameron on maracas, to finish up the night and send their fans home happy.

Tame Impala are a great band and deserve the plaudits they have been getting recently; Parker’s new songs are original and flaunt a range not present on the debut album. Stage presence and audience interaction may not be their greatest strengths, but the quality of the music is more than enough to make their show one worth catching.

Record review: Tame Impala – Lonerism (2012, LP)

In what must be one of the most anticipated Australian releases of recent weeks, Perth’s Tame Impala have dropped their second album, and what a blissful mess of fuzzed-out prog-pop it is. Singer and main songwriter Kevin Parker recently said he felt the pressure of trying to follow up the phenomenally successful Innerspeaker was going to be too much for him, resulting in the need to pretend his new songs were destined for a side project with no consequence. His methods clearly paid off, and the proof is in the psychedelic pudding on Lonerism. Generous at fifty minutes, the sound is not unlike that of their debut, but with a few new twists and turns to keep the die-hard fan interested. Extensive use of effects pedals and the construction of expansive, immersive soundscapes are the backbone of the album, with a few synths and an added dreaminess thrown in for good measure. As the title suggests, the lyrical themes involve isolation and introspection, but are tempered with a naivety that retains a sense of a light-heartedness and more than a little hope. Single ‘Elephant’ is a highlight in a fuzzed-out T-Rex kind of way, while ‘She Just Won’t Believe Me’ rocks in ‘Helter Skelter’-like fashion before an abrupt finish at fifty-eight seconds leaves you feeling a bit robbed. If a classic pop song and a ’50s sci-fi movie had a baby, it would be third track ‘Apocalypse Dreams’; its soaring, searing synths beg to take you on a tripped-out interplanetary journey, or to some dark recess of your mind. It’s not all tip-top; the repetitive riffing on a couple of tracks – including opener ‘Be Above It’ – can be a bit much, but overall Lonerism is a fine album. (Modular)