Thursday, February 28, 2013
Concert review: Tame Impala sprints into 6th dimension at Granada Theater
Just when the jams noodled on too long, the group wisely turned the spaceship 45 degrees and sailed into a blissful refrain.
Too many psychedelic bands try to recreate 1967 down to the last sitar riff and patchouli incense stick. Tame Impala is less concerned with authenticity than with a more timeless goal: song-craft.
Bandleader Kevin Parker and his young Australian group thrilled a capacity crowd Wednesday night at the Granada Theater with guitar and keyboard jams that droned and swirled halfway into the 6th dimension. But what tied it all together were Parker’s well-constructed tunes.
Singing in a high, nasal voice a la John Lennon, Parker spun lovely dream-pop songs that conjured up marmalade skies and made you want to sing along -- if you only had a clue what he was singing in his thick Aussie accent. Two keyboardists elevated the melodies with echo-ey lines played on analog synthesizers.
At its best, Tame Impala recalled Revolver-period Beatles. But it was also impossible to miss the free-form influence of Ummagumma-era Pink Floyd.
Just when the jams noodled on too long, the group wisely turned the spaceship 45 degrees and sailed into a blissful refrain. Their show-closer may have been titled “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything That We Could Control.” But Tame Impala usually knew exactly when and how to steer a jam back home.
Parker isn’t much of guitar soloist, so he wisely focused on beefy blues-metal riffs in tunes like “Half Full Glass of Wine” and “Elephant,” a thundering anthem from the band’s second and latest disc, Lonerism. Nick Allbrook laid down jazzy grooves on his Hofner violin-shaped bass, but the band’s secret weapon was drummer Julien Barbagallo, who made the songs swagger like a Gene Krupa/Keith Moon drum-off.
As mesmerizing as their music could be, Tame Impala still has a thing or three to learn about visuals. Most the crowd could barely see the band members amid the murky lighting, and the supposedly trippy images on the video screens looked like something a 9th grader made. Parker would be wise to go see the XX, whose recent show at the Granada proved if you really want to blow minds, a vivid light show is almost as important as the music.
Thor Christensen is a Dallas freelance writer.
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