After thunderstorms and tornado warnings were forecasted for Melbourne during the end of last week, it was a nice surprise that the weather held off for Tame Impala to kick off their Australian tour at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. With the hill already full of picnic rugs and 70’s-esque prints on t-shirts, jackets and jumpsuits, fellow Perth-siders Koi Child opened up the event. A welcome start to the show, the 7-piece hip hop outfit showcased their unique combination of beats, lyrical flow and nu-jazz with ease. Koi Child were clearly having fun on stage and were humbly excited to be playing such a big show that also featured them on the big screens flanking the stage. Having only released their first single in 2014, their ability to get an extremely relaxed crowd grooving was quite outstanding.
Next up, 3-piece Mini Mansions took to the stage to present their LA-based psychedelic pop tunes to an expectant crowd. Founded by Zach Dawes, Tyler Parkford and Queens of the Stone Age’s Michael Shuman, Mini Mansions have clearly already garnered a following in Melbourne. As they exuded energy from the stage, a ripple of swaying and singing quickly spread across the lawn and picnic rugs began to disappear to make way for dancing. Mini Millions effortlessly created a big sound with their set that while being a great gateway into Tame Impala, also completely captured the crowd.
Having a seated ticket, I left the lawn before Tame Impala were due to begin and found myself next to a lone teenager. It turns out he was still in school and had travelled all the way from Wonthaggi just for the show. If I wasn’t interested in the show before, I certainly was now. This kid’s energy and excitement at seeing a band that had clearly influenced him heavily was infectious. It felt like the entire 12,000 strong crowd was heavy with anticipation. Pre-quelling Tame Impala’s arrival on stage came a flurry of psychedelic visuals, not unlike visuals they’ve used in videos and on releases.
These really set the scene for the rest of the set and saw the band open with a very extended and more punchy version of ‘Let It Happen’, the lead single from their most recent album. As they ran seamlessly from one track to another, no fan could have been left unsatisfied by the quality of music and the tightness of each instrument with the next. A big chunk of ‘Currents’ was played (including for the first time ’Yes I’m Changing’) in amongst crowd favorites such as the strongly accented ‘Elephant.’
One of the highlights of the near 2-hour show was the introduction to the falsetto full and smooth sounding ‘Cause I’m A Man.’ Beginning with front man Kevin Parker facing away from the crowd, it became apparent that the trippy visuals on the screen were responding to Parker’s guitar. Each movement and sound he made created a different flurry of movement behind the band. Tame Impala were so obviously immersed in creating a great experience for their fans that when it came time to finish the set with ‘Apocalypse Dream’ from 2012’s ‘Lonerism’, it was almost a shock to hear the track end. Softening that blow a little, Tame Impala came back for an encore which began with Parker acknowledging the opening acts and then moved onto two more hits from ‘Lonerism’ – ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ and ‘Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control’ – ensuring the set ended on a huge high.
During the show Parker spoke of the it being Tame Impala’s biggest yet and apologized profusely for leaving it two years to come back to Australia for a tour. However with such an outstanding performance, an apology was hardly necessary – the two year wait has been more than worth it.