After sprays of vomit fell from my gullet onto some garden enthusiast's pride and joy the other night, a smile crept through my trembling lips. No, I'm not some sick jerk who gets his kicks from vomiting; I was viewing it as a sign of a grand night out.
I'll rewind slightly, back to my early arrival to the ANU Bar.
The usual crowd of androgynous socialites pranced around. It's the types you know so well - big-haired, faux-bearded, scarfed folk who resemble Frankenstein's monster stitched from French cartoon character Madeline and a laid-off wharfy.
Through this crowd, it's clear to see Tame Impala are doing something right. The doors never quite ceased the flow of people entering, leaving the venue at a healthy capacity towards the end of the night. Being the darlings of triple j must have helped boost tickets, as did their ability to get famous by covering already successful songs. It all seems so simple.
Some stain at the ANU decided to rid the bar of its arcade machines a little while ago. Normally, games would mean that you had something to do other then drink and be horrendously bored before a gig. The ANU Bar rivals a giant beige wall in lack of excitement these days. On the plus side, I guess, this meant the crowd were so bored that enthusiasm was quite high for first supports The Laurels. Proud gazers of shoes from big city Sydney.
When I was younger my friends and I used to turn the wigs around on the mannequins at David Jones (something I highly recommend doing). Take that backwards hair look, add a guitar and hey presto - you have the singer from The Laurels. Squeaky guitars and songs peppered with My Bloody Valentine influence had me more than interested. Huzzah, they're good! I climbed further though the crowd to gain a closer look, only to come face to face with the lanky bass player swaying to and fro; I was startled. This was my best friend Conor from 15 years ago, one who I'd all but lost contact with. This band surprises its audience with the 'memory lane' angle. I like that.
Memory beers soon followed across the table from one another. Hurtled though time, I found he'd lost his stutter, puppy fat and baby teeth. His tour with Tame Impala had been quite full on, mainly due to their sudden popularity. Apparently they're full on, apathetic and like to inhale copious amounts of cannabis smoke. Captain Obvious charges into another battle.
Back inside, watching the first few tracks from the next lot, Jonathan Boulet, was interesting. Firstly, they weren't any good. Not bad, but no different then the other ten million Belle and Sebastian wannabe bands our country is plagued with. Their lyrics closely resemble the 'things my grandmother likes' list (tea, owls, clouds etc) and are in abhorrent need to shred a guitar solo or two. Some nice harmonies, but nothing your weekend dad's cover band can't pull off at the RSL open mic night. Just as embarrassing too, might I add. No stars.
On stage, a keyboard scratched out a kitsch demo track whilst the headliners slumped on stage. Stomach thoroughly drenched, I was excited when they ripped into their set hard and heavy. I took great pleasure in chuckling to myself on their appearance, that of medieval B-grade movie extras with rusty fringes and frizz that glowed in the purple stage lights. Don't get me wrong, it's welcomed with their breed of psychedelic rock. Their nervous set at Meredith Festival last December seems that of a different band, as now they've lost that shake and are nothing but confidence. Honestly, remarkable for whippersnappers this young.
The elephant in the room with these guys is Cream - they sound pretty fucking close to them. Influence is one thing, but for me this goes a little too far. Chuck Jefferson Airplane somewhere in there too. The jams are amazing, but it still all blends into one beast after not too long. Plus I wouldn't mind some vocals that didn't always sound like a deaf guy singing happy birthday in slow motion.
Later throughout the jams, and with one eye drunkenly squinted to reclaim the little depth perception I had left, Tame Impala burst into apparent single Half Full Glass of Wine. Knowing the stories, personally I think the name Half Full Bottle of Water with a Severed Garden Hose Jammed in the Side would have suited them much better. But so be it.
The end was quite good; lots of powerful drums and me smoking outside. The crowd seemed to like it, I'll just go on that. Honestly I would have liked to have seen something original, but for those who dig this style of retro revival rock, yeah, go nuts.
The night ended with me drinking far too much (more) beer at BMA HQ, hurling opinions at anyone in a stumble's reach. I was told from a few others there who saw the gig that it was rad, so yeah I'll take that on board. Alternative review - "rad." There you go, two options to choose from kiddo.
In conclusion, Tame Impala are a re-hash, but a good one at least. Full of youngster energy, yeah, but if you're going to do a re-hash do the Grateful Dead at least, or maybe listen to the first band for inspiration. 32 stars.