Show Review: Tame Impala @ Stubbs (2.26)

Let’s make no mistake about it, the Tame Impala show at Stubbs’ was deservedly sold out! Blowing into town behind the release of two excellent albums, Lonerism and Innerspeaker, the venue was filled with a nice bit of buzz.  They even brought friends The Growl along with them from Australia. 

Read along for my thoughts and Brian’s rad photos.

You can tell that people were excited about the night’s show juts by how full the venue was when The Growl took to the stage; it was more packed than I’ve ever seen for an opening act at Stubbs.   That being said, I was actually quite please with the performance from the Aussies.  Sure, it wasn’t the most exhilarating live performance, but I love the use of two drummers; it created this huge wall of reverberating tribalism to the band’s blues influenced pop. At times, I felt a Tom Waits influence coming through the vocals, albeit one with a little more polish to the notes.  I found their music captivating for the most part, though I felt the showmanship could have used a bit more energy.

When the time came for Tame Impala to take the stage, I was enjoying my night, which often does have a huge impact on how one views the show.  From the first note, I was immediately impressed by the band, but that all related to their sound.  It’s been a long time since I’ve heard such contained ferocity coming from the speakers at Stubbs.  The guitars blasted the audience, who all bobbed their heads in approval.  Plus, they had a pretty even set, going back and forth between Lonerism and Innerspeaker, playing recent hits like “Mind Mischief” and “Elephant” to the approval of the crowd; I know I saw tons of photos taken on phones for the latter track. 

It really was a fulfilling show, illustrating that the hype of the band extends beyond the album; sometimes bands fail to live up to the hype or joy of their album by putting on horrific performances (i.e. last week’s Foxygen set).  But, if I were to dissect things from the nerdy rock show review point of view, there are a few touches I would add to improve the set all around.  First, get rid of the light show.  I completely understand how it accentuates the blending of pulsing beats and psychedelia, but the lights were a little cliche…perhaps a little too Bill Nye the Science Guy.   That, and the band wasn’t the most exciting group ever, live. I understand that crafting such an ornate sound, and one that was so compelling, is difficult to execute live, but I’m pretty sure the bass player didn’t take a single step from his position during the entire show.  And, I’m not really one for that intense, hair in the face, not going to move look that some of the others took on for a great deal of the set.

But, we grabbing at straws here; we’re being overly critical.  True, that’s our job, to report the truth.  But, overall, I left the show really impressed with the band’s execution of the songs live. I actually thought the live set was more thrilling than the albums can be at time.  Sure, they still have some kinks to work out in order to bring their A game every night, but for a young band with a lot of press behind them, they killed it at Stubbs Tuesday night.

Photo Guy Notes: Stuck around to take in a little from The Sour Notes. More pics at the photo site

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