When I think of home and Australia, in my mind I start singing the song “Land down under” (Men at Work style) or “I still call Australia home”(Peter Allen’s version or the Qantas commercial, take your pick), neither, of which are at all what the band Tame Impala are like at all. And that is not a bad thing.
These boys are from my old stomping ground and I don’t mean “Australia” I mean little old Perth, Western Australia. And strangely enough, I can clearly remember when my American friend was telling me about this great band, and the exact moment that he realized (to his surprise) that they were Australian. It was then that I got to explain that Perth was the bastion for many great rock and roll bands.
What I do love about this band is that not only were their songs included on the soundtrack to the movie 'The Kids Are All Right' or that they also had a song used in the HBO series Entourage, but to me their biggest claim to fame will always be that they headlined the inaugural Rotofest!!Pre show I ended up with a friend of mines ticket because she couldn’t make it, so I managed to find a nice German lad out the front of the venue who wanted to get in and gave him the ticket, at that moment I managed to slip in the fact that the band were from my home town and that they seemed like a nice group of lads in the band and that it would be a good night!!!!
When you go to see a psychedelic rock band what do you expect? Really strong guitar riffs and some sort of drug influence. And to some extent this would be the case right from the get go - i.e. before the band even had started someone in the crowd was being seen to by medics. He would later be referred to as the man who was walking across an eternal desert, therefore it is fair to say whilst I thought possibly he was epileptic, more likely he had taken a few to many halousenagens.
What I wanted to see on the night was the band to take the stage, in a very grandiose style and really hit the ground running and totally blow people away. What we got was the all the house lights up to there brightest, and the Aussie lads just strolling onto the stage, pick up their instruments and start to play, a very lack luster affair indeed. And that kind of set the tone for the rest of the evening. I mean, it was one that was solid but never lived up to the lofty heights that I wanted to see.
Front man Kevin Parker came across as a likable lad, a little on the shy side for a front man, but very respectful and polite. As my opinion of him developed over the course of the evening it was not helped by the fact that every time he approached the microphone to talk to the audience there was significant feed back, and not a word could be understood. This was probably exacerbated by the fact that he has about 19 guitar peddles at his disposal at any given time and keeping a handle on them appears problematic at best.
I have seen this a few times over the years, to be able to get the most out of all 19 pedals it is easiest when one is in bare feet, so on display for all of the Paradiso was Kevin’s beautifully naked monkey feet.
Every now and then when you are at a gig you see a performer who reminds you of something or someone, and the drummer (Jay Watson) certainly did that. From the moment he took the stage in his open shirt and gripped the stick he made me think of Animal from the Muppets, and when he started this didn’t dissipate one little bit.
Ok, so I can here you all asking what was good or what kept me there to the end?
Well one these guys were Aussie, you have to kind of support the boys through to the end…Secondly it did feel like being back in an Aussie pub, I mean nothing was particularly polished, but it was still reasonably good rock in a great venue. Thirdly the crowed loved it, this was the most engaged I had seen a crowed in quite a while, I mean especially as the band left the stage for before the first encore, there was more stomping and hollering then I have seen in a couple of years.
In a nutshell I found the gig at Paradiso to be rather disappointing, I expected more on the night and the band just didn’t deliver. I am not saying they couldn’t but they just didn’t. Did I still enjoy the show? You are too bloody right I did. Do I want to see them again? Yes I do.
Did I want them to break into a Wolfmother song, alas I did…