Live: Tame Impala Inspire Hundreds Of One-Man Dance Parties At Bowery Ballroom
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?
It Is Not Meant To Be
Solitude Is Bliss
Make Up Your Mind
Desire Be Desire Go
Half Full Glass of Wine