Live review: Tame Impala, Young Dreams at ABC, 3/11/12

It’s Saturday night and having managed to put Halloween hullabaloo behind themselves Glasgow appears willing (couple of costumes aside, bit late eh) to return to some semblance of normality.

Thing is, those huddled in and around the ABC tonight should be made aware Aussies Tame Impala just don’t do normal, or regular, or whatever… no, nothing but exceptional will be catered for this November eve.

Prior to Tame’s arrival however we are blessed to be in the company of Young Dreams.

There’s an earnestness and whimsy to Young Dreams performance that is all too genuine to dismiss.

Layers of clean verses contrasted with heavy choruses among lashings of keys, some would argue that there is a lack of distinction between each track in their set.

Despite this, the response from the small amount that have made it round this early suggest that the masses are no less than engaged.

We are thanked for “getting it” and reminded by the orchestral Norwegian boys and gals that tonight is the wrap up of their European tour with Tame Impala.

With only a handful of songs Young Dreams somehow manage to display an alarming amount of charm and beauty; so much so one can only hope they fulfill their ambition of completing an album sooner rather than later.

With sublime tropical set closer actually named after the band, Young Dreams leave the stage to less ignorant chatter and hi-jinks than is typically afforded to warm ups having left something of an impression.

With Bergen’s finest still ringing in the ears anticipation for tonight’s headline act grow with the venue now squeezing in every last space.

“The last time we played here, we played to like 10 people under a bridge somewhere,” quips Mr. Tame Impala, aka Kevin Parker, times clearly have changed.

And so Tame Impala take our breath away with their brand of psychedelic space rock (whatever space rock is) ‘Be Above It’ followed quickly by the cosmic genius of ‘Solitude is Bliss’.

Effortlessly blending newest creation Lonerism with debut album Innerspeakers finer moments the band send ABC into a state of sub-bedlam.

There’s certainly much about Parker and co’s music that is worth a good eye roll or two.

There are the blatant heavy metal riffs that butt right up against the ethereal, psychedelic zeniths and orchestral flourishes in a manner that that might be gratingly overwrought if it wasn’t so catchy.

Then there’s Parker’s light warbles, which is dramatically at odds with the pounding drums and almost cheesy epic metal sounds.

Some may have seen Tame Impala being likened to a certain Beatle; a shallow, first-listen comparison solely based on the Lennonesque vocals.

Which brings me to: the vocals; live shows can be challenging and often disappointing as singers try to live up to their producers’ fine recording wizardry on albums.

I, for one, am stunned with how Parker’s live voice sounds exactly as it does in the albums, i.e. puredeadbrilliant with ‘Elephant’ possibly raising the roof most.

While having a tendency to jam and stretch things out they never really get lost or become a mess.

Some of their best songs, ‘It’s Not Meant To Be’ and ‘Desire Be Desire

Go’ get live-show embellishments that are more than welcome.

They take the form of a new, semi-related coda riff or an extended section to provide for slight improvisation and light up the ABC.

As they return to encore a thunderous rendition of early B-side ‘Half Full Glass of Wine’ eventually we slow to the end following 90 minutes of ‘welcome to the 200mph mind of Kevin Parker’.

The only minor negative to be found is the distracting circa ’95 early Windows screensaver style projections, which accompany the set, but surely such irritations can be overlooked with this lack of normality on show.

Words: Andy Quigley

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