Tame Impala - Empress Ballroom [Live Review] ‘A MIND-MELTING, PERFECT PERFORMANCE’

Tame Impala
Empress Ballroom
[24/06/19]

Tame Impala brought euphoria to Blackpool with a mind-melting, perfect performance that will go down in live history for the group.

★★★★★

“This gig will go down in Tame Impala history,” said Kevin Parker as the band went into their final number and its fair to say he wasn’t exaggerating. Parker frequently spoke of high energy and it was noticeable from the off. The second the opening riff of ‘Let It Happen’ roared through the ballroom the crowd entered a frenzy, the Northern crowd were moshing and throwing themselves closer and closer to the band, who knew psychedelia could be so wild?

It’s not only Tame Impala’s trippy psychedelic rock that was surreal however, just the location itself was enough to boggle the mind, here’s an Australian Rock group who have headlined this years Coachella, play on Glastonbury’s second biggest stage this weekend and yet here they are with 7 lorries worth of equipment and tour buses parked on a side street in Blackpool. Saying this, however, The Empress Ballroom is one of the most remarkable venues in the whole country, its fantastic and glorious decor is like stepping back in time and it doesn't go amiss from Parker who frequently remarks on its beauty. It's also no stranger to a big indie gig with the likes of Arcade Fire, Bon Iver and Blur performing at the venue over the past five years.

Just because we were at an intimate venue in Blackpool, it didn’t mean that Tame Impala wouldn’t bring absolutely everything to the show, the start of the show was full of morphing lights and background visuals but from ‘Elephant’ onwards the band took the stage show towards a different dimension, featuring one of the most elaborate light shows I’ve ever seen. one that dwarfs electronic DJ’s and feels like an ode to genre greats Pink Floyd, that’s not to mention the confetti which flooded you, there were barrels of the stuff, leaving you trawling through an ankle-high multicoloured sea just to leave the venue.

The musicianship on display was top drawer, the songs flowed effortlessly and Parker’s vocals were on key throughout, going into an upcoming fourth album it's obvious all of the group are fine-tuned musicians and masters of their craft. New singles ‘Patience’ and ‘Borderline’ segued smoothly into their existing setlist, ‘Patience’ especially has an undeniable groove that brings so much more energy and euphoria to their live performances. 

Their hit singles from ‘Currents’ and ‘Lonerism’ caused pandemonium ‘Elephant’ especially like the animal itself was wild, starting off in pitch black before erupting in colour and sound, the highlight of the evening, however, was an emotionally charged and compelling rendition of ‘Eventually’ which when paired with the light beams was beautiful and emotionally devastating. Equally as stunning was 'Yes, I'm Changing' which felt like a bullet to my heart no doubt due to the communal feelings of togetherness and joy which projected through the crowd.

Tame Impala are known for a few key singles throughout their career, ones that have infiltrated the mainstream so to speak, what's incredible is how the show doesn't change energy and engagement, by this I mean most large bands can lose the crowd when they take them to a large high and then drop down, this was not the case. 'Less I Know The Better' saw the crowd chant and sing along at full voice, but this was no less than each and every single song received throughout the night, it was beautiful and felt like a real fan experience, the atmosphere was incredible and it really deserves recognition, I've been to hundreds of gigs and never has a crowd felt so in sync with the performer before.

'It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards' brought a tear to my eye through pure joy of being covered head to toe in confetti, singing at the top of my lungs, the same can be said about set closer 'New Person, Same Old Mistakes' which felt like a fitting, euphoric finale. That's the thing with Tame Impala live, they bring all the complexity and beauty of their studio recorded albums and then amplify it tenfold by overloading your senses with light, colour and confetti. It’s more than just a performance, its like entering a carefully created reality in which you can truly let go and be one with the music. As a performance it was spectacular and for me, unforgettable.

Setlist:

Let It Happen

Patience

The Moment

Mind Mischief  (With ‘Sestri Levante’ outro jam)

Nangs

Elephant  (With Extended Intro)

Love/Paranoia

The Less I Know the Better

Yes I'm Changing

Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind?

Eventually

Borderline

Apocalypse Dreams

Encore:

Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

New Person, Same Old Mistakes