“This is the longest Tame Impala has gone [between gigs] in the history of Tame Impala,” chief Impala Kevin Parker told the huge crowd at Mad Cool festival. “I don’t know how that happened and I’m sorry, it won’t fucking happen again. But I’m glad it’s happened in Madrid because you guys know how to kick it.”
Tame, to be fair, know how to kick it too. But anyone hoping for a glimpse of new material from the world-beating Aussie psych-rockers will apparently have to wait a little longer. This show – and subsequent ones, presumably – is essentially the same one they took around the UK following third album ‘Currents’. Much has happened since then: Rihanna covering ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’ (renamed ‘Same Ol’ Mistakes’), co-writes with Kanye and a rolling project with Mark Ronson, and given the worlds he’s operating in now, you’d have to expect the next Tame Impala album will be a different beast altogether.
So this run of dates, which also includes Citadel in London and Pitchfork in Chicago, is a last chance to see this particular shimmering, entrancing psych-fest. It’s a show that throbs with colour throughout, giant screens on and off stage rippling with fractals and Super-8-like footage. It’s a musical lava lamp; a Windows 95 screensaver on the hard stuff.
And on stage, bathed in smoke and lights, Parker exuded good vibes as his band ushered in the sunset with an opening trio of, aptly enough, ‘Nangs’, ‘Let It Happen’ and ‘Sundown Syndrome’. Seeing Tame Impala live is a truly communal experience, one that has the audience dancing – actually dancing – watching the stage but passively, as the players don’t do much worth looking at so much as create 90 minutes of pure atmosphere.
Parker took issue with the fenced-off area at the foot of the stage. “Are we going to let some non-VIPs into the empty VIP bit?” he asks at one point. “Go on, let them in, there’s no one there.” Pretty cool, and pretty great for a man who, you suspect, will always remain down to earth no matter how many times Kanye calls.
The set ended with ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards and ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’ and an explosion of coloured ticker tape; Pearl Jam and Kasabian were still to play, but Tame had thrown the gauntlet down – a headliner band in a non-headliner slot. Bring on that new material soon, please.