TVD Live Shots: Tame Impala at the Riviera Theatre, 5/15

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER | Last Friday, Tame Impala played to a sold out crowd at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago. It’s been particularly muggy in the Windy City which made the show a rather, um, sweaty and musty one.

Tame Impala is known for their psychedelic rock sound that is often compared to many albums recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the live show definitely rides this wave. Projections of reverberating rainbows and fractals, and constant smoke in the air made the experience such that it felt like we were stuck in a kind of 1960s time warp soundtracked by Tame Impala’s woozy, psychedelic sound which is the vision of Kevin Parker.

The band wasted no time playing one of their newest songs, “Let It Happen.” I overheard someone standing next to me say, “Eh, that song’s pretty cool,” but I couldn’t help but notice that maybe the band just wanted to get that one out of the way before diving into the grittier, more droned-out songs like “Mind Mischief” and “Why Won’t They Talk To Me” from the beloved 2012 album, Lonerism. Or maybe, I just wanted that one out of the way…

Anyway, as they moved through the set list, the band would take songs like “Elephant” and “Be Above It” and extend them into these repetitive jam sessions which had me wondering if the song was ever going to end and forgetting exactly where it had begun anyway. All of a sudden (and for lack of a better term) a beat would drop and they’d step back into the original chorus of the song or bring it to an epic upswing that only got the crowd grooving to the music more and more, their excitement growing exponentially as the songs got more intense.

The very popular tune, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” was finally played during the encore only after Tame Impala indulged in an experimental jam. People sang along loud to this and it kind of felt like about half the audience bought a ticket just to hear this song. Hey, I don’t blame ‘em – sometimes all you need is just that one song to feel like you really saw a great show.

Tame Impala’s new album, Currents, is out on July 17 via Interscope Records.

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