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Live Review: Tame Impala

19 October 2022 | 9:01 am | Carley Hall

"Tight, engaging, fun and vocally spot on."

(Pic by Justin Ma)

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It never matters what night of the week it is when a much-loved band and their supports descend on the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Cars by the thousands, trainloads of people, mums and dads dropping off youngsters – the swarm of bodies beelining for the foyer doors make a Tuesday night out in the Boondall wetlands seem like any Saturday busy night out. It may very well have something to do with the headline act’s status as one of Australia’s best live music acts (who have been sorely missed by Brisbane crowds due to pandemic delays to touring), but there’s also plenty on offer tonight in regards to the opening support artists. 

While a heap of punters buzz around outside, Brisbane singer-songwriter Sycco warms up a respectable-sized crowd before her in the stadium venue. It’s been very rewarding to see the swift rise of this talented young artist, who admits to being “a COVID baby” since the release of her debut Dribble in 2020 launched her onto the airwaves. It was the perfect time for upbeat vocal-driven hooky electro-pop, providing an ideal musical medicine in lieu of no touring acts. And yet, here we are just shy of two years later and the effervescent pocket rocket is working the stage with tracks Germ, My Way, Bad World and Ripple like she’s been at it for decades. It’s a joy to behold and the punters who made it in early clearly agree. 

If it hasn’t been said already then it needs to be said now - Genesis Owusu is one of the most mesmerising performers seen on local and international stages in years. The Canberra hip-pop artist not only writes incredibly catchy, upbeat bangers with edgy narratives, he also lives and breathes it in every performance. In an angular red suit and his trademark dreadlocks lopped off, GO is a flitting bee on a bare stage buzzing this way and that as he runs through The Other Black Dog, Gold Chains, Good Times and recent favourite GTFO. A trio of masked dancers and singers crawl into the spotlight and provide some choreographed support for one of many dramatic Jesus-like poses, but they are in no danger of dimming the fierce glow of this very engaging young star on a steady rise.

By now, things are certainly dense and steamy, confirming tonight’s sold-out status. For many here tonight, it’s been a very long wait to see tonight’s headliner again. When Kevin Parker introduced the world to Tame Impala with buzzy psyche-rock tracks like Elephant and Half Glass Full Of Wine, fans and critics instantly sat up took notice. Just over a decade later, the kind of musically tight and visually eye-popping shows that Parker has become known for creates a palpable buzz in the stadium. It also feels like more than just the usual excitement of catching big songs by a big artist; there’s something akin to the experience of seeing a true artist unveil their piece layer by layer.

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True to form, a faux pharmaceutical rep appears on screen to talk us through the effects of ‘Rushium vaccine’ in a nod to this, Tame Impala’s Slow Rush Tour. As the voice-over glitches and a tuneless din rises, Parker and his players stride on and push straight on into One More Year and Borderline. The mix is a loud onslaught, the lights are near seizure-inducing and confetti cannons explode over the heads of all, so all senses are firing. Musically, Parker and co are faultless as always; they are tight, engaging, fun and vocally spot on. Their usual psychedelic, riff-laden walls of sound in Lost In Yesterday, Less I Know The Better, Mind Mischief, Let It Happen and Runway, Houses, City, Clouds bring sharp relief to Parker’s raw, unaffected vocal during One More Hour

What Parker has always straddled so well is treating huge audiences such as this to a show that is massive in every sense of the word that still feels intimate. Little jam sessions that intertwine the set, songs that transport, visuals that bear down on punters like they’re alone in cinema, even the lead man’s gracious kudos to those before him and those way up in the lofty grandstands all makes seeing this stadium-worthy outfit still feel like catching the psyche rock Perth band back in their heyday. From their debut Innerspeaker, to global breakthrough Lonerism, single-heavy Currents to their latest The Slow Rush, virtually any witness to TI gigs spanning their decade-plus catalogue have consistently produced searing experiences for showgoers.

A very sincere show of appreciation to fans old and new before him is another poignant validation that Parker’s legacy as one of Australia’s finest creators is all but assured. 

Remaining dates

Thu 20 Oct, 2022 - Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney

Sat 22 Oct, 2022 - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

Sun 23 Oct, 2022 - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

Wed 26 Oct, 2022 - Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide

Sat 29 Oct, 2022 - RAC Arena, Perth