In 2007 in Perth, Australia, multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker moved his blues/jazz/psychedelic rock band, the Dee Dee Dums, in a new direction. He recruited a new drummer, replaced the two-guitar attack with a simplified guitar/bass/drums foundation, and renamed the band Tame Impala, referring to the medium-sized African antelope (not the Chevrolet sedan). Tame Impala garnered attention in 2010 with the release of its debut album, Innerspeaker, and received critical acclaim for its 2012 album Lonerism, which was named best album of the year by Rolling Stone, Filter magazine, Great Britain’s New Music Express (NME) and other music outlets. Tame Impala is presently Parker on guitar and vocals primarily, Dominic Simper on bass and Jay Watson on drums, although Parker played most of the instruments on the band’s two albums.
According to the band’s website, Tame Impala claims to make “psychedelic hypno-groove melodic rock music.” At Terminal 5 tonight, the claim proved to be true. Amid eerie lighting, the band played experimental music, alternating between cascading instrumental tracks and their more identifiable rock jams, all the while playing with sounds as well as with the ears and heads of the audience. Not all of the noodling music was outstanding, but the extended jams were hypnotic and fascinating. Parker in particular led the mind assault by constantly distorting, smudging and phasing his lead guitar melodies, using an array of floor pedals. His compositions recalled the origins and brief lifespan of this genre of music during the late 1960s, but the newer technology and dance beats gave the sounds a crisper, sharper edge. Much of the set consisted of trance-like songs, but then the guitar ripped in as to awaken the dream-like grooves. Unconfirmed rumors are circulating that Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators, a pioneer band in the 1960s psychedelic movement, is interested in playing with Tame Impala. Judging by tonight’s performance, the rumor appears to be very fitting.
Visit Tame Impala at www.tameimpala.com.