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Wednesday, 09 October 2013 18:11

Concert review: Tame Impala soothes the rock 'n' roll breast of the Pageant, Tuesday, October 8

Julien Barbagallo of Tame Impala at the Pageant Julien Barbagallo of Tame Impala at the Pageant Virginia Harold
Written by Blair Stiles
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Tame Impala's song "It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" expresses enough hope and musical beauty that it can assuage the gnarliest of inopportune emotions.

Tuesday night at the Pageant, things in the pit got heated between concertgoers. Slight shoves rocked some patrons in the swell of Tame Impala's lag-less 105-minute triumph over nasty behavior. One patron looked to the other and said, "Why the violence?" -- a statement that is Tame Impala in its entirety.

Serene and calculated, Tame Impala cut through the chilly Pagaent like a brilliant ray of sunshine on a winter morning. The band slid through tracks off "Lonerism" and "Innerspeaker" with the dreamy scope of its records. It maintained the nuanced echoes and cavernous reverb marked by the plump bounties of harvested pedals cooked to ambient ne plus ultra. From the balcony to the floor, the songs came across so akin to their vinyl cousins that if leader Kevin Parker had not deviated from his record's vocal runs, it would have been easy to believe the band subbed recorded tracks for live instruments.

Parker toed two and a half pedal boards sans-kicks to create the sonic whirlpools that controlled songs like "Be Above It." Keyboardist Jay Watson's pointed patches punched through the gauzy verb with vigor. Parker carries the weight, but his bandmates are skilled aural assassins. During the tumult of "Elephant," a dangerous number that herded the listeners into violent head bangs (it thumped so hard), drummer Julien Barbagallo soloed with an accelerated tempo to rapturous crowd applause. All the while, bassist Nick Allbrook, raised his hands in mock shock. Allbrook was, naturally, the grooviest of Tame Impala's weapons last night. "Mind Mischief" was threaded together by his purple bass line. Dominic Simper would have his moment later, when during "It Is Not Meant to Be," his and Parker's war axes clashed to produce the bright patches that make up Parker's poignant epiphany.

Tame Impala's chief accomplices, its light techs, manned the visuals. And. Those. Visuals. Even with a sober bird's eye view they left me flabbergasted. Kaleidoscopic swirls of reds and blues were sketched across Tame Impala's churning tempos to form visions of architectural blueprints which faded into black, purple and orange petal patterns the freakier Tame Impala played. Prior to the band's encore, the lightsmen shut down the stage and left the crowd shrouded in bruised-colored light. They roared with the volume of a football stadium when a caped figure (Barbagallo) reentered the stage behind the keyboard setup to growl, "You fuckers better make some noise if you want us back."

The Perth, Australia natives made good on its promise. They began their encore with "It Is Not Meant to Be." The song that introduced the majority of us to Tame Impala was flush with feeling and mirrored Parker's gracious stage banter. He repeated sentimental "thank you"s to the St. Louis audience. At one point he said we were the loudest the band has had on tour.

To hear that from a band with a sound endeared to many hearts and ears created a mutual appreciation between audience and musicians. That push match that I mentioned earlier? Never escalated. The parties involved snuffed out their feud in favor of Tame Impala's tunes.

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