Tame Impala - Brixton Academy, London 31/10/12
"The last London show we played was our biggest to date at the time, and all the people who came to that could fit in the upstairs seating area here!" announced Kevin Parker triumphantly halfway through tonight’s show (cue a huge roar from all the extra fans in the Standing area). Indeed, when Tame Impala announced this show earlier in the year, it seemed slightly too ambitious. Their first album had impressed many, but it was their only album, and coming in at £20 a ticket, it all seemed a step too far. However, come the night of Tuesday October 30th, thousands of Kevin Parker's disciples did indeed flock, with tickets changing hands for twice their face value outside the venue, it was hard to believe anyone ever questioned their ability to play a venue this size.
In fact, hearing the songs in this setting made you feel the show feel almost intimate. Every track was huge, and almost ripe for filling stadiums, if only the band themselves possessed the bombastic swagger that their songs carry. Instead, they remain relatively static, relying on geometric background imagery to do all the visual work. They're clearly enjoying themselves, and the stillness appears to be rooted in nervousness, more than the actions of a band 'going through the motions'. Despite this, if their third release is half as good as the last two efforts, you can't help but feel mainstream success and the O2 arena await them.
It is also easy to forget whilst watching the band, that they barely are in fact a band – Kevin Parker is credited for almost all the instrumentation on every release of Tame Imapala's – both for the writing and the playing, and knowing this fact, props have to especially be given to drummer Julien Barbagallo, who pounds out every drum beat like it's his own, complete with one particularly special improvisation halfway through 'Elephant'. It would be unfair to single out Julien alone though – the entire band are incredibly tight in the live setting, and the way that Kevin has worked with them to manipulate his babies into monsters is astonishing. Each song takes on a whole new personality tonight, with unexpected solos and jams taking things to a whole new dimension.
The band leave the stage to rapturous applause following a fantastic rendition of 'Apocalypse Dreams' and return with a treat for those who have been fans since the start – a rousing rendition of 'Half Full Glass of Wine' from their debut release, the self titled EP, brings the house down. Everyone here knows that Tame Impala’s glass certainly isn't in need of re-filling any time soon.
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