It’s always bittersweet when bands come to the end of touring an album. On the one hand, them taking a break from travelling the world and getting back to work means new music. On the other, who knows whether it’ll be mere months or a couple of years until you get to see them again?
Tonight (July 29), Tame Impala played their final confirmed show of the year, headlining the second day of New York’s Panorama festival. You’d be forgiven for thinking they’d already put third album ‘Currents‘ to bed – it’s only their second show since the beginning of February, the other one being a warm-up for tonight just north-east of NYC in Port Chester. On Randall’s Island, located in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, they give the record a spectacular send-off.
‘Let It Happen’ is the first big moment of the night, the field bathed in Tame’s technicolour visuals as the song’s fluorescent synth line rises and falls like the air-punching hands of the dancing crowd. Rarity ‘Sundown Syndrome’ is a skipping, psych delight while ‘The Moment’ sounds more vibrant and gigantic than ever.
“I think this might be our biggest US show ever,” says frontman Kevin Parker after ‘Mind Mischief’. “No one’s told me, but maybe they didn’t want to jinx it.” He promises the Perth group’s best performance and they come pretty close to delivering it. ‘The Less I Know The Better’ is just getting into its groove when Parker cuts it short. “Who was out of time?” he asks his bandmates before restarting. Afterwards, he’s still not happy, but synth player Jay Watson is on hand to put a positive spin on things. “You got to hear it one and half times longer,” he jokes.
That aside, Tame are slick and tight while still making things look effortless and fun. There’s no end of kaleidoscopic and trippy visuals to accompany their (mostly) flawless versions of tracks both prime for raving to (‘Elephant’) and more emotional ones (‘Yes I’m Changing’). It’s just as well, because by the sounds of it Parker would be quite jealous of day one headliner Frank Ocean without them. “That’s the kind of show that makes me think ‘Well, at least our show has lasers’,” he tells the audience after a particularly strobe-heavy ‘Eventually’.
Their live show may be less out-of-the-ordinary than Ocean’s art experiment, but that doesn’t diminish its power in any way. Tonight, Tame prove themselves to be festival-headlining kings who seem like they’ve done more of this bill-topping thing than they actually have. The songs all sound as crystalline and gorgeous as you’d hope, while the band’s laidback approach makes everything feel like one big dance party full of new, like-minded friends. As the band bring things to an end with an exquisite encore of ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ and ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’, it’s not hard to imagine Parker and his going doing the same, stunning thing at Glastonbury in a couple of years time. We’ll see you down the front when it happens.