Live: Tame Impala Inspire Hundreds Of One-Man Dance Parties At Bowery Ballroom

tame impala bowery ballroom.jpg
Go ahead and zone out. Pic by Puja.
Tame Impala
Bowery Ballroom
Thursday, November 18

Better Than: Buying weed.

"There's a party in my head, and no one's invited," sings Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker, early into last night's sold-out show. It's a line that resonates for these psychedelic Australians and their audience alike -- sold out as Bowery Ballroom might have been, seeing this band live is nonetheless an all-consuming, surprisingly intimate experience.

To call the group "retro" would be unfair, though almost everything about them feels like a throwback to '60s stoner rock. Foot-tapping kick drums and snares are tempered by lo-fi guitars, trance-inducing bass lines, and fuzzed-out vocals. Tonight, the band's fares best from within the middles of their songs, once they've passed the loosely constructed intros and settled into a heady groove. Though he was battling a sore throat (and we could tell), the night's highlight was undoubtedly Parker's ability to draw us in despite the resulting vocal restraint. In particular, the swooping chorus of "Alter Ego" -- an octave-spanning drone of "Don't you know it doesn't have to be so hard/Waiting for everyone else around to agree" -- somehow sparked a few hundred personal dance parties in the audience.

Introspection can get a bit tiresome live, and while the band did play their spaced-out, 10-minute epic "Expectations" (not one of our favorites), they managed to avoid yawns and instead pulled us into a swaying coma of bliss. The visuals helped with the hypnotic nature of it all, as the group was blanketed in deep red lights and set in front of a screen displaying a never-ending loop of kaleidoscopic images. (We think they were controlled by the some sort of guitar-manipulated image rig.) It wasn't all so zoned-out, though, and we were jerked back to life with the upbeat pop stylings of "Lucidity" and head-banging guitar riffs of "Half Full Glass of Wine," the latter closing out the show, which needed no encore because, well, we had already snapped back to reality.

Critical Bias: I'm in college, man.

Overheard: "I think my dad would like this." "Yeah dude. Yeah, totally dude."

Random Notebook Dump: Who invited Murray Hill?

Set List:

It Is Not Meant To Be
Solitude Is Bliss
Make Up Your Mind
Alter Ego
Lucidity
Expectation
Synth Int
Sundown Syndrome
Desire Be Desire Go
Remember Me
Skeleton Tiger
Half Full Glass of Wine


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