Tame Impala @ The El Rey 11/16/2012

The underwhelming tone of the evening was set early by openers, The Amazing. The only thing remarkable about this band is that they somehow managed to convince their friend, Dungen’s Vahalla-raising lead guitarist Reine Fiske, to turn his amp down from 11 to 5 to play in their pedestrian folk-pop-rock outfit. Anyone who’s seen Dungen perform would attest that this was truly a depressing sight and sound, like watching Thor go into battle with a ball-peen hammer.

Tame Impala, on the other hand, came in swinging a huge, bright, sparkly, vintage sledge. The moment the first chord was struck, hands were thrust aloft, guys dropping the bro wave, girls curling their hands, eyes closed in a hippie girl dance. This music is way too trippy man…or, I mean, this shit’s sick, bro! There was something not-pleasantly disorienting about this set and audience. Amidst the clouds of pot smoke, one could detect a whiff of poseurism. This band seems determined to convince its audience they don’t give a fuck, yet there is a popularity and faddishness about them (a natural byproduct of hype, unfortunately), which is totally at odds with their so-called ‘lonerism.’ While there were occasional moments of power and beauty, on the whole I found their songs (which I’d initially liked when I listened to the albums) to be pretty boring. Kevin Parker’s adenoidal singing gets old pretty quick, and without the finesse of the album production, the songs felt clunky. The crowd loved it though, which I feel added to the illusion of heaviness. I’ll be the lone dissenter though and recommend that you pass on the live set and stick to listening on headphones to this ‘music to walk home by.’

Nick Cullen

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