THE AUDITORY AND VISUAL DELIGHT THAT IS TAME IMPALA KEVIN PARKER CONTINUES TO SHOW WHY HE IS ONE OF MODERN MUSIC'S GREATEST VIRTUOSOS
TORONTO, ON- Ever since 2010, when Kevin Parker’s solo project Tame Impala graced the indie airwaves with his debut LP titled InnerSpeaker, Parker’s brainchild has progressively, and much deservingly, gained immense popularity. Going from just a side project for Parker as he worked as a law clerk during his teenage years to arguably one of the most recognizable band names in today’s music scene, Tame Impala is both a commercial and critical darling of the music industry.
This was clearly exemplified Friday when Parker brought his talents to Toronto’s Budweiser Stage, easily selling out the outdoor amphitheater of over 16,000. Still riding high from the success of 2015’s Currents– the album that really pushed Parker into the mainstream limelight and introduced Tame to a plethora of new fans- I was more than eager to hear a mix of both old and newer material. For me, getting to see Tame Implala at last year’s Pitchfork Summer Festival, especially when they opened with “Let it Happen”, was one of my year’s concert going highlights. You can imagine my elation when the same song was introduced during the opening of Friday’s spectacle. Walking out on stage, Parker greeted the audience with his patented reserved, “shy guy” smile and wave. As the rest of the band settled in, the group opened with that familiar synth intro to “Let it Happen”. That song is easily one of Tame’s more recognizable tracks to date
Parker had things off to a hot start and kicked things up with the dazzling stage production. Nothing could compete with the blasts of confetti that blasted from multiple cannons situated around the pit during the meatiest drop of the song (any fan can easily tell you when that part is). As the stage production showered the many happy faces surrounding the ground floor with confetti and bright lights, it made for quite the satisfying opening which was a precursor to how the rest of the show would unfold.
From that explosive opening, Tame went into their second song of the night, “Patience” which is one of two newly released singles that Parker has put out in 2019. A track that will inevitably (and hopefully) be on Tame’s fourth studio album that many have speculated will drop by the end of August, “Patience” is another savory and easily digestible tune that is chock-filled with Parker’s airy vocals. Considering that many have compared Kevin Parker vocal styling to that of John Lennon, I was really hoping Tame would cover “Imagine” or “Strawberry Fields”. Much to my chagrin that never happened.
However, I was thrilled to see that Parker’s setlist contained plenty of deep cuts from Tame’s early work. Songs like “Desire Be Desire Go”, “Expectation”, “Why Won’t They Talk to Me”, and “Keep on Lying” are in truth, some of my favorite tracks Tame has released. Although these moments were certainly tasteful and killer in their own right, when Tame broke out that fat bass line to “Elephant” over an hour in to their set…..ooof. The way that bass just seems to go for a walk with the snare drum behind it complimentary each tone is just too sweet. Feeling each snare hit and bass slap reverberate throughout my entire body as the acid washed visuals played on the screen behind Tame made me really yearn for a smooth toke. This was immediately followed up with Parker’s magnum opus. The crown jewel of his musicianship, “The Less I Know the Better”. I mean, come on. How could you not love that song? Another track that opens with such a smooth and satisfying bass line that is complimented by Parker’s slick guitar chops, “The Less I Know the Better” is pretty much the song that launched Parker onto everyone’s radar. Needless to say, the encore had to top this moment which by all accounts, managed to.
Closing out the night with “Feels Like Were Only Going Backwards” and “Yes I’m Changing”, the huge ring of lights descended down upon Tame and shrouded the guys in a white glowing light; definitely seemed like an alien abduction to me. Sounding just as organic and rich as they do in the studio, Tame’s encore was definitely the icing on what was a most delicious and filling concert cake. The crowd loved every minute of Parker’s set and he in turn, returned the crowd’s love by taking the time to sincerely thank the “beautiful people and city of Toronto”. Now if Parker would just hurry up and release that new album, I can finally have a justifiable reason to go out and buy overpriced vinyl again.