Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend Tame Impala’s gig on Saturday night but still wanted Toward Music to cover the much anticipated sold out show. I sent Zoe O’Neill – Events Producer, Arts & Music Enthusiast and sometimes participant – along in my place to experience the event first hand and give us the full show run down. Big thanks to Zoe for reviewing and Chugg Entertainment for supplying the double pass.
With a lightning storm brewing overhead, a dewy, tropical humidity blanketing the evening, and the tree-lined, natural amphitheatre of Belvoir packed to the gills – it certainly felt like the stage was set for the Prodigal Sons’ return.
Before Perth’s homegrown-now-international juggernauts took to the stage though, it was up to another bunch of local lads to kick off the night and warm up the sold out crowd. Koi Child have gone from strength to strength since they burst onto the local scene in 2014, with their 2015 touring support for Tame Impala sandwiched in between some pretty spectacular festival slots – from Waverock in September to Golden Plains in March next year. There’s nothing better than a band confident and rehearsed fresh off a tour, and Koi were no different this evening. Proving their worth and innate suitability to big stages and big crowds, their set was a high energy, well oiled instrument of hip hop and heavy horn work. This 7 piece is tight as hell, and a hell of a lot of fun.
Next up were LA dark psych pop trio Mini Mansions, with Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman swapping out bass duties to man the helm on drums, guitar and vocals. A heartfelt call out to their friends in the Eagles of Death Metal came from Shuman amid the wake of the shocking Paris attacks the previous day, but in the spirit of the evening, they sauntered on with music and positivity. Starting off in sickly sweet pop suburbia, it took a couple of songs for Mini Mansions to win the crowd over. By track three, they had amped up the luscious chunky fuzz on the keys and took us deep into off-beat, dark and sumptuous psych rock and dance. Special mention has to go to bass player Zach Dawes’ spectacular floral suit. Absolutely beautiful two part harmonies between Shuman and keys/vox Tyler Parkford ran over a solid set that has me wanting to hear more of these guys’ back catalogue.
A massive audio and visual set up alluded to the fact that Tame Impala’s return home after a long stint of international touring was not going to be for the feint hearted…or possibly epileptic. Assembled by a brigade of lab coat clad roadies that included several familiar faces from Tame family bands, the kaleidoscopic light show did not disappoint. The projection mapped, other-worldly green visuals vibrated and entranced the thousands-strong crowd and spawned a feeling we were all about to be hypnotised.
Tame kicked off with a few tracks off their latest and third studio album Currents, leading with big hitter Let it Happen, before dipping into the vaults for an oldie from their debut album Innerspeaker with It Is Not Meant To Be and later, Alter Ego.
Parker gave the undulating amphitheatre of adoring fans a taste of something ‘completely new’ with The Moment – a gorgeous swelling melody with signature soft vocals that would make a strong next single and personally preferred to Yes I’m Changing – one of the other new tracks unleashed that night that fell slightly flat compared to the other golden tracks played over their otherwise solid set. Although to be fair, this cruisier tune did have the unenviable role of following a cult favourite.
Despite having played some of the biggest gigs in the world, you took the bands word as truth when they said Belvoir was their favourite of all. Parker was at ease with the crowd, casually drifting around the stage and talking like a man amongst friends. Challenging the crowd with “If you don’t dance to this, then I don’t know what will get you up!” Tame launched into crowd favourite Elephant, to a roar of delight and the enthusiastic flail of every limb beneath the trees and lightning looming over Belvoir.
Other set highlights also came from the new album with Eventually and especially, ‘Cause I’m a Man; that had the crowd gleefully singing along.
The tail end of Tame’s set included a decent nod to their second studio album Lonerism. After ending big on Apocalypse Dreams, the encore included American public school choir favourite It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards turning every person in Belvoir into a backup singer.
Parker thanked the crowd with a wry “And we didn’t even get rained on”. Prophetic words as the last notes of the final encore died out and the skies split open; a fitting close to a gig in the forest, with a band that treated the hometown ground to a vivid sensory trip.