March 15, 2022

Tame Impala played Barclays Center (Night 1)

Tame Impala released their fourth record, The Slow Rush, in February of 2020 just before the world shut down due to the pandemic. Now, two years later, they're finally bringing those songs to life.

In many ways, I'm still shocked at the success of Tame Impala. A prog-forward psych-rock band from Australia that specialized in fuzzy guitars with distorted vocals who've slowly moved towards acid-tinged disco, isn't one I would've expected to rise to the ranks of selling out arenas and headlining festivals around the world. However, there seems to be nothing capable of slowing down the success of Kevin Parker's one man project and in fact, he and the rest of his crew seem to only be rising to the occasion with their now rather incomparable stardom. On their first of two nearly sold out shows at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, it was evident that their reach has transcended any notion of just how popular a rock band can actually be in 2022. These days, guitar based music isn't at the crux of the musical landscape and isn't exactly the spectacle it was even a decade prior. In fact, Tame Impala might be one of the few rock bands, and certainly the biggest, to actually be drawing in a new crowd vs relying on pure nostalgia to sell out a show. Still, while they may not rely on the past, their classic sound still feels comfortable and familiar, like something you've always known and can return to at just the right times and the band embraces this with open arms. For their set, the band stuck to their most popular tracks and really played it up for the fans as Parker repeatedly thanked everyone for attending and continuously spoke about how magical the night felt. Visually, it was a spectacle unlike almost any other. Surrounded by rings of lights on stage and a giant screen behind them, they leaned heavily into their psychedelic roots and dazzled the crowd with a limitless spectrum of colors that felt like the visual equivalent to their multi-layered, blown-out space rock which blasted its way all the way to the rafters of the building. Their sound was loud, rich, and full of textures that hit like a rock solid wall of blissed-out psychedelia, the guitars and lasers cutting through the fog in tandem, always ready to compliment one another with utter precision. While the newer, synth-driven songs got the crowd grooving, it was the rockers like "Elephant" and "Apocalypse Dreams" that got the building to shake and by the time they dove in to "Let It Happen," it was as if the building was hit with an electric jolt that sent everyone into a moment of sheer bliss. As the night progressed, so did the stage set up as a giant disc of lights hovered over the stage like an alien spaceship descending upon the band only to unleash even more explosive lighting that set the night into sensory overload. "What does the sign say?" Kevin asked at one point as he tried to read a message from a fan, only to find out it was a request for an older track called "Half Full Glass of Wine." The band indulged us all briefly for a rather special moment before Parker retorted "does anyone have a sign for 'Is It True' cause that one's next" to which the crowd erupted with joy. While the band has journeyed away from their rock past, it's clear that Parker still yields his best results with his trusty guitar in hand and he made it clear with ripping solos of thick, distorted chords before a stellar segue into "New Person, Same Old Mistakes." From the fuzz and crunch of their flying guitars to the shine and sheen of their synths, the grunge of the van to the glamour under the disco ball, and humble beginnings to one of the most consistently mind melding bands on the planet, Tame Impala have earned their position on top not just the indie world, but they've conquered modern rock as we know it and they're glowing in their spotlight.

Set list:

01 "One More Year"
02 "Borderline"
03 "Nangs"
04 "Mind Mischief"
05 "Breathe Deeper"
06 "Posthumous Forgiveness"
07 "Elephant"
08 "Lost in Yesterday"
09 "Apocalypse Dreams"
10 "Mutant Gossip
11 "Let It Happen"
12 "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards"
13 "Half Full Glass of Wine" [First verse & chorus only, fan request]
14 "Is It True"
15 "Glimmer"
16 "Eventually"
17 "Runway, Houses, City, Clouds"
18 "New Person, Same Old Mistakes"
19 "The Less I Know the Better"
20 "One More Hour"

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