For a moment yesterday I contemplated actually giving up my ticket to see Tame Impala with opener Jonathan Wilson at the Fox Theater in Oakland, because when you’ve been emotionally invested in a band and want to see them succeed and you’ve seen them three times previously you wonder if you can actually write an objective review upon seeing them the fourth time. Could a song like “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” actually get better with time above and beyond the soaring anthem that it’s already become in this band’s relatively short tenure as the top of indie rock psychedelia? Have they added to the repertoire yet? Would there by anything new or are they still touring on the label push now that Lonerism is repeating a significant critical acclaim?
Well plenty of answers came last night when the band played to their largest Bay Area crowd (besides perhaps their Outside Lands set), and they absolutely nailed the execution. Hell, they even threw out some signed drumheads between their set and the encore, an indirect way of saying to the crowd, “believe me, you want our autographs.” Based on the set we had just seen, everyone was reaching up to catch them for a chance to bring one home.
I arrived a song or two into opener Jonathan Wilson’s set, and immediately I was hearing some amazing “Jerry”-riffs and the vibe in the room got the crowd nicely settled into their marijuana high. Wilson’s style had this loose psychedelic blues thing with tons of room for each player to get some time jamming, and at times you could tell he was pulling back to keep his set within the 40 minute time frame. The band was great all around and the set was spirited and vibrant for the opener, even when he brought it down a bit and played to the quiet spaces. Definitely a perfect opener for the Tame Impala guys, and I’ll definitely be back to see a Wilson show after I get into the catalog and see how it lays down on tape. Going in blind to see him was a big win for me.
When Tame Impala finally hit the stage about 30 minutes after Wilson’s set was done, it was pretty clear the band has risen in stature from the last two times I caught them roll through SF to play a proper club show. Seeing this band at the Fillmore can almost only be topped by seeing them at the Fox Theater where beautiful architecture internally lends itself to making every show a bit more beautiful as it’s happening. Kevin Parker, the creative brain behind Tame Impala’s sound, had a moment of true pause when he remarked how beautiful the Fox Theater is, truly humbled by the experience he’s gotten himself into.
The show front to back was really wildly good, including a few moments definitely worth mentioning that probably don’t happen at every Tame Impala show. First, I felt like there were some new interludes and jams that I hadn’t otherwise heard, which could have just been deep cuts used to transition the set a bit. But it was interesting to see the material stretch. There were people crowd-surfing at some point, which is generally not everyone’s speed at a stoner psychedelia show. What seemed more logical and yet still cheesy and funny was when a bunch of the crowd held up lighters on “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” which even got a remark from the band as the “most lighters ever.”
— Pete M (@PeteLikesMusic) May 30, 2013
There was also moshing at the end of the show, which again, I cannot condone at a show where at least half the audience flicked their lighters the second the house lights went down to start the show. But it followed an encore that opened with just the drummer jamming along to some mad math-rock prog psychedelia stuff, mellow but kinda complicated, if that makes sense.
Finally, holy damn the silent jam during “Elephant”…
Yeah, don’t miss a Tame Impala show ever. These guys have my attention for years to come.
Check out a few more Vines from the show…