Photos By: Summer Luu
By: Amanda Martinek
Perth-based Australian pysch rockers Tame Impala played to a sold out crowd at the Observatory North Park and it was mind-blowing, to say the least.
Doors opened, and the pit began to multiply faster than a flesh-eating virus, growing close and crowded before the openers even came on. Announced a few hours before the show via Tame’s Instagram, a curious crowd was bestowed the magik one-off freak-show that is Kirin J. Callinan & Lord Fascinator Performing the Songs of Kirin J Callinan & Lord Fascinator. Decked in glittery attire, one wearing a velvet wizard robe and the other sporting a sporty an 80’s gold track jacket and mullet, the duo managed to simultaneously make us smile and cringe. Poking fun at venue’s lost liquor license, Kirin J. Callinan waved around his alcoholic beverage and teased, then threated to take his wife beater off. Which he did… tossing it flirtatiously into the crowd. Both the highlight and lowlight was their closing track called “The Toddler”, a hilarious and disturbing number featuring fancy feet moves and a chorus that went “I’m the toddler… I’m not a baby, not yet a boy.” Very Britney Spears.
After everyone was loosened up and feeling strange, many men in white lab coats began to set up the stage, with an alarming green glow as their backdrop.
The five-piece finally took stage, with psychedelic shapes and colors swirling behind them. They launched right into their first single “Let It Happen” off their brand new album Currents, as everyone began to lose their minds in pure bliss. Rainbow orbs shot up behind their heads, transforming into geometric patterns that lost all distinguishable shape and became hallucinogenic tie-dye. The visuals were perfect, all personally designed by lead signer Kevin Parker.
The set list was pleasantly unpredictable, weaving in “old” tracks off their 2010 debut album InnerSpeaker, songs off their wildly popular 2012 follow-up Lonerism, and brand new numbers from Currents, just released mid-July of this year. Not coming to San Diego often (if ever), most attendees only have seen Impala perform in festival settings, so it was refreshing to hear tracks often not heard live, like “Alter Ego”, for instance.
Forgoing in-between stage banter, Parker stayed true to his introverted, loner persona and seemed to get lost in each track, allowing us all to get lost with him. The drawn-out jams and trippy visuals blended together and took us on a journey for what seemed like eternity. I didn’t want it to end. Even after Parker noted their last song pre-encore, I thought it was impossible. There were still so many more they needed to play. And that’s what is so incredible about Tame Impala. Every single one of their songs stand-alone as an amazing piece of art. And I wanted to hear them all.
But as all ages shows go, it was growing late. They briefly left the stage, keeping the light-trip fest going, and came back to close the night with “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” and “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control”. Which was a good reminder. We couldn’t control it. We just had to stand back with our eyes open and have our minds blown.