TAME IMPALA – Psychedelia Lives On
The CityCat winds past Riverside with its usual slow and steady assurance. Looking around the stern of the boat, one finds a collection of rainbow splashed apparel and long-haired males buzzing from their pre’s and for the night ahead. One particular psychedelic passenger is grasping a poorly hidden pear cider in one hand whilst sharing a soft but passionate rendition of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”. Next stop: Tame Impala at Brisbane’s Riverstage.
Such a character would seem out of place amongst the usual greyscale business wear of the CBD, but, on this night he joins a parade of tie-dye fans, filling the grassy hill of Riverstage. Mini Mansions’ supporting set attracts the beginnings of a mosh pit whilst the crowd continues to spill in. The rainbow sea of teens and moustache faced hill-goers hush and bustle. A green radar graphic erupts onto the backdrop as the ominous synthesiser intro of “Let it Happen” descends on the thick summer air. Dollops of Tame’s reverb and bass chills the skyline as the show begins. Let it happen, Kevin - we’ve been waiting four months for this.
Kevin Parker, the band’s sonic architect and vocalist, entered the smoke heavy stage barefoot to the cries of a crowd whose dedication harks back to 2007. Rarely have I been among a mob so diverse that I begin to question how a bands’ formula could be so infectious.
I look around and find a Where’s Wally assortment of teen girls snapchatting every living second whilst being crushed by a neighbouring thug; a cross-armed balding dad rocking a conservative head bang whilst avoiding the nearby smoke of a precarious cigarette. It made me chuckle at the time, as I (perhaps) hypocritically divided the crowd into orderly stereotypes whose collective sum is emerging as a distinct genre of modern music: “Retro, duuude”. This wave of ‘chill’ and synth-heavy festival-filler jams are certainly welcome, but come with a lingering taste of imitation and cheapness. Whilst Tame Impala delivered some of the best live music of my 2015, I did leave Riverstage feeling like I’d visited a Smithsonian exhibit of a ‘Physcadellic Rock Band’, and merely got to peek into the glass cabinet of a taxonomy genre of music.