Tame Impala’s first KL gig was no tame affair

by - 15:22

Tickets to Tame Impala’s debut show in Kuala Lumpur were sold in three phases, all of which sold out within a matter of days. While the band has performed at popular music festivals in the region, it came as a surprise the kind of following they have mustered here in Malaysia.

The rock band from Western Australia arrived at our shores to perform for Urbanscapes 2016, before an eager 2,300-strong audience that had started queuing as early as 3pm outside concert venue KL Life Centre, even though the doors only opened at 7pm. Waiting in a line that stretched out two floors down and onto the main road were fans from as far as Thailand and Indonesia – a testament to how loyal Tame Impala fans are.

Homegrown talents Pastel Lite set the mood for the evening with their dreamy yet catchy tunes that got the crowd swaying gently from side to side throughout their set. By the time they were done, the crowd was in prime condition to receive the headliners.

Moments after Pastel Lite had cleared the stage, a couple other men appeared and the crowd went crazy (as they usually do despite knowing very well these weren’t the headlining band members). What was especially cool about this was the attention to detail – the men were evidently technicians of Tame Impala but unlike the usual black tee, black denim “uniform” of stage techs, they were clad in lab coats, as if about to prepare for some kind of elaborate experiment.

This was quite apt in the case of a Tame Impala show, because with all the trippy visuals and psychedelic melodies of the band, it’s hard not to embark on a self-discovering journey.

Tame Impala have been likened to The Beatles from their psychedelic era, but during a pre-show interview, front man Kevin Parker explained how he himself wasn’t sure what genre his band belonged to. “I kind of just wait for other people to tell me what we sound like,” he said.

“The words people have used are ‘dream pop’ and ‘psychedelic rock’, although I wouldn’t call us rock.” He also added that he is inspired by everything he listens to and feels that the music people are drawn to happens subconsciously.

Parker and co, consisting of guitarists Jay Watson and Dominic Simper, bassist Cam Avery and drummer Julien Barbagallo performed all of their crowd favourites including Let It Happen, the first single from the band’s latest album, Currents — all time favourite, Elephant off their 2012 album, Lonerism — to the much anticipated sing-along number Feels Like We Only Go Backwards. It was simply electric from start to finish for the thousands of fans who were jammed together in a packed out KL Live.

Just as the band was about to perform their final two songs during the encore set, Parker expressed how deeply moved he was by the overwhelming support the band had received in Malaysia even though it was only their first time performing here. “We will be back,” he said.

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