Having dominated the Coachella stage in April, and played Glastonbury at the weekend, Tame Impala have come a long way from going to pub to pub, performing their earlier tracks a few years back. Frontman Kevin Parker and his band continue to surpass boundaries and establish exactly why they ought to be playing these massive stages. And when they brought their mellow riffs and zaps of synths to the 3,000 capacity Empress Ballroom, which they sold out within 5 minutes on a Monday night in Blackpool, it was an ethereal experience – and even that is an understatement.
Aside from their anticipatedly drowned-out, dreamy vocals which exceeded my expectations by a thousand miles, the stage set out was just as entrancing as the audio; with supersonic lasers and a pastel drenched haze of lights utterly converting the venue to a surreal sphere. Engulfing it, almost, into an LSD-fuelled realm. I was in awe of the entire set out. The visuals were meticulously created as always by Parker; with them now being renowned for occasionally putting on such an entrancing scene for your eyes, that you end up focusing intently on this, with the vocals taking the back-seat. Alas, I’m not complaining about it. The band members as mere silhouettes in the foreground, with trippy visuals taking over the stage behind them for the majority of the show was fine by me; utterly mesmerising, even.
The band dispersed onto the stage promptly at 8:45, catalysing a sudden rush of beards and plaid shirts from the beer queue nearby. Their entrance gave a teaser for what was to come; a plethora of kaleidoscopic neon colours, and snappy synths in their opening track Let It Happen. Prior to the gig, I thought, what will people actually do during the gig?Will they dance? Bob their heads? Strip off, in the name of either extreme sweatiness or as an ode to the non-conformist, hippie connotations of the band’s brand? I highly doubted that there’d be any significant moshing action in the midst of their mellow melodies. However, as the opening riff of the track soared through the ballroom, it was confirmed. People do mosh to psychedelia. Who would’ve known?!
Multi-coloured confetti showered down on the audience at the end of the track, as the mind-bending lights flickered mercilessly. A euphoric sensory overload was initiated and the spellbinding, psychedelic-disco rhythms of the track were enough to have us hooked immediately.
After getting the crowd pumped, and the electric atmosphere flowing, they nodded towards tracks from their yet-to-be-released new album – singles “Patience” and “Borderline”. These newer tracks definitely suggest a more electronic, disco-tinged trajectory which their upcoming album will go down, rather than the raw psychedelia which was rooted in the heart of their first album InnerSpeaker, and this was more prominent upon hearing them live. Parker has recently told The New York Times that although a fourth album had “taken shape in my head”, he couldn’t “hurry” the recording process, preferring to take his time curating another masterpiece, presumably littered with the electronica undertones of Patience and Borderline, as mentioned. Upon seeing these two tracks being performed live, I’m absolutely certain that everyone at the gig is gagging for the new album even more so.
The moshing action resumed as the punkish, moody instrumentals of Elephant streamed through the ballroom. The sexy grooves of the track seem to suck you in and hold you captive; having you moshing into an alternative dimension, to the beat of both the song, and the dazzling lasers which perfectly correlate with the sound. With its outlandish syncopations and strange lyrics, it sort of brings a feeling which can only be compared to your mind feeling slightly disconnected from your physical self. Crazy? Yes. Boring? Absolutely not. It was the most spiritually-driven moshing I’ve engaged in…
Yes I’m Changing was another highlight of the night; an emotively hallucinogenic treat to our ears which provided a fitting comedown from the energetic rendition of The Less I Know The Better, prior to this. I might’ve shed a tear or two during the four minutes of bliss which accompanied it; despite the numerous, alarmingly sweaty bodies which were up against me, I got goosebumps as soon as the lyrics started pouring in for this track. The sense of togetherness which cut through the crowd was evident, and entirely lovely. Overwhelming, even.
Once again, what seemed like endless confetti drizzled upon the crowd during the encore of Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,which seamlessly transitioned into New Person, Same Old Mistakes for an effortlessly lucid conclusion to the gig.
The mien of the night was a purely enchanting one, with it having the whole crowd fixated from start to finish. We were in awe, and justifiably so… They certainly have a knack for taking the dreamy psychedelic undertones of the majority of their tracks, and amplifying this into an intense, acid-driven fantasy which has proven to be as emotive as it was captivating.