Tame Impala Fitzgerald's February 25, 2013
It's been a heady past few months for Tame Impala, the drone-y Aussie band with a jones for Floyd, Abbey Road and endless Teutonic jams. Their sophomore album, Lonerism, hit the rock press close to the end of 2012 and began an assault on best-of lists all over, from The Guardian, SPIN and NME to Pitchfork (natch), Rolling Stone and countless others, including us here at Rocks Off.
Now the band has hit the road and the greater States for a victory lap, bringing along fellow Aussies The Growl. Yes, imagine that, an opener of note. After The Growl's opening set, it was clear this was a co-headlining affair, at least judging by the Fitz crowd's reception.
The Growl's two-drummer-blues-Waits-Morphine-howlin-Portishead-stomp attack wowed the sold-out room. It's been a hot minute since a supporting act blew back everyone's Hitler hairdo, but then again, The Growl were that gripping.
Lead singer Cameron Avery has confidence for miles, throwing down a Nick Cave-cum-Mick Jagger presence up front, with two drummers handling percussion, a guitarist, bassist and a keyboardist rounding out the guts. A bizarro solo song from Avery about Boxing Day pretty much sealed the deal for most of the female fans at Fitz. A cover of "John the Revelator" did in the mens.
Tame Impala's 26-year-old leader, Kevin Parker, is the stuff that makes the band really tick. His guitar playing up front and the fragile choir in his throat enthralled the diehards. He's the architect of this fine mess. As a rock fan, expect to be stuck with Parker for decades to come, maybe not even as Tame Impala, which he has hinted at.
A lot has been made of the band's Beatlesque air. Yes, it's prominent, but not intrusive to the point where you expect someone's Japanese girlfriend to be standing to the side of the stage holding a grapefruit. TI is earnest in its Liverpudlian bent. Blame us lazy music writers for that tag.
No doubt many fans will jump down the rabbit hole that is Lonerism for more of the band's prog-rock forefathers. At most points, TI was heading towards Meddle or Tago Mago territory. No big thing.
When the band got dancier, the age of the crowd showed, with Gen-Y danceaholics bopping in time with "Music to Walk Home By." Coming after the satellite-radio smash "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards," TI's jam in the middle of the buttery "Elephant" was the stuff of infinitely traded Internet bootlegs.
Definite Cut of the Night: "Alter Ego" from 2010's InnerSpeaker.
Personal Bias: Tame Impala was the only saving grace for that MGMT show they opened back in ancient 2010 at the House of Blues. Thankfully, they are making good on the promise of that opening set way back when.
The Crowd: Heavily insulated. The high winds Houston was being pummeled (blown?) with brought out them parkas and hoodies. But shout-out to the gal dressed in the cleavage-baring mesh jumper. Do your thing.
Oversmelled in the Crowd: We get hella stoned on Monday nights now, too, I guess. Third period is going to come too soon for some people today.
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Random Notebook Dump: "Sabbath Lennon Sabbath" summed it up for most for Tame Impala. I can't wait to hear the next ten albums, though. I mean, Parker's gotta make a Technical Ecstasy sometime.