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Tame Impala, InnerSpeaker live, 21/04/2021

MARTIN RUDDOCK on watching TAME IMPALA play some fab psychedelic music live on his TV


Six o’clock on a school night, and your Shindig! correspondent is waiting with baited breath to watch the first gig in ages. Okay, so we’re naturally doing it through a screen, and getting the astonishing Western Australian sea views of Tame Impala mainman Kevin Parker’s home Wave House second hand – but there’s a palpable air of anticipation from the ever-growing list of excitable live comments coming in at the side of the screen from other fans. We can’t quite figure out how to turn this off, but it only enhances the experience. Audience chatter, eh? Takes you back. We’re all gathered “here” to witness a live stream of a very special Tame Impala gig celebrating the 10th anniversary of psych-prog behemoth debut album InnerSpeaker – to be played tonight (or early morning) in full, live and very loud. The camera’s on, there’s a bit of crackling, amp noise and some “Is this on?” chat from the band and then they pile into the swirling intro of ‘It Is Not Meant To Be’. Considering the changing cast of live Impala members and the ultra-processed, spacey sonics that Parker has spent over a decade lovingly knitting together – it’s quite remarkable that Tame Impala sound exactly like Tame Impala should with seemingly no outside influence. The location obviously helps. It’s not just the views from Parker’s home and the ridiculously cool decor. (Our online editor Ben is watching as well, and we both agree that our Ed-in-chief should make Kevin an offer on Wave House for a Shindig! summer holiday home. How about it Jon? Jon? Come back…). Wave House was of course where large swathes of InnerSpeaker took shape. As spiritual homes go, it’s pretty spectacular. The next hour is an intimate experience. Parker grooves against the ever-darkening skyline, peeling off scalding space-rock riffs and delicate lysergic guitar peals. The professional camera and sound crew aside, it’s like eavesdropping on a really great band practice. There are occasional guitar farts and bursts of feedback between songs but the performances themselves are sharp and super-focused. It’s rare to see Tame Impala do a whole album live in sequence, but InnerSpeaker really works live. There’s no jamming, it’s all economically done but it’s still blast off after blast off. ‘Desire Be Desire Go’ remains a ferocious beast, like the 1967 Nazz firing into a wind tunnel. Every now and then, rather endearingly, you see a cameraman slip a prism filter onto the lens just to make things that little bit more psychedelic. Reaching the back end of the album, ‘Bold Arrow Of Time’ is even heavier than the brilliantly sludgy original, while ‘Runway, Houses, City, Clouds’ is a kaleidoscopic, echoey ride powered by Jay Watson’s propulsive drums. Finishing off on a crunching ‘I Don’t Really Mind’, we’re quickly then back at the front door of the website after an exhilarating hour of big melodies, proggy noodling and pummelling riffs

It’s a potent reminder of just how strong a debut Innerspeaker was. Thanks Kevin, it was nice to drop by.

With thanks to Duncan Jordan

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