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Image: Vasili Papathanasopoulos.
Following a number of reschedules and almost two years since the originally announced tour dates, Kevin Parker brought his musical project, Tame Impala, back to Sydney. Throughout the evening Parker thanked the crowd for hanging on and making it to the show, expressing his gratitude to once again take to the stage in Sydney. The night brought together three dynamic acts, with Genesis Owusu and Sycco joining Tame Impala throughout the tour.
Brisbane/Meanjin-based singer, songwriter and producer Sycco kicked off the evening with a short but sweet set that showcased not only the singers musical prowess, but her endearing quality as a performer. Interacting with the crowd, giving one particular audience member tips for their next haircut, the singer filled the room with her bright and glitching soundscapes. Her soothing vocals shone through funky bass lines and mesmerising guitar melodies, all working together to lull the growing audience into a state of euphoria.
Images: Vasili Papathanasopoulos.
Sycco’s more relaxed energy was immediately juxtaposed by multi-ARIA award-winning Ghanaian-Australian artist, Genesis Owusu’s explosive stage presence. Sauntering across the stage perched on the shoulders of his backup dancers who were concealed beneath a cloak, the musician opened his set with The Other Black Dog. Owusu erupted across the stage throughout the set, his performance oozing with a magnetic energy that captivated the audiences attention - whether they knew his music or not - with his strutting charisma and booming vocals. The musician also treated the audience to his latest offerings, GTFO and the freshly dropped Get Inspired much to the delight of the crowd.
As the lights dimmed, a spokesperson for a fictional pharmaceutical company appeared on screen to greet the audience and speak of a “groundbreaking new drug”, Rushium. Whilst the drug, like the company, is fictitious, one could say it’s a metaphor for the burst of dopamine and euphoria that was to follow. As Parker and his troupe of musicians, Jay Watson, Dominic Simper, Julien Barbagallo and Cam Avery took to the stage, scream and cheers erupted throughout the packed stadium. Opening with One More Year, the scene was set for the psychedelic visual feast that was to follow.
Images: Vasili Papathanasopoulos.
Something to understand about a Tame Impala live show is that the boundaries between music, visuals and production are blurred, creating a multi sensory adventure across 22 songs. Each guitar stroke, drum, pattern and vocal line breathes into the sets lighting design, which at times plays into the visuals portrayed onscreen. Lasers beamed throughout the arena, creating shapes on stage during Nangs, whereas throughout Love/Paranoia we were visually transported through a variety of different realms made of various terrains.
The mesmerising tones of Posthumous Forgiveness rang throughout the arena, whilst the halo of lighting hovering above the band was set alight for the first time, creating a heavenly glow down onto the stage. That ring of light would become a pivotal production element throughout the set, soon releasing a cloud of mushroom-like smoke during Apocalypse Dreams, slowly dispersing throughout the arena whilst lighting flickered throughout to resemble lightning. It would then beam rainbow tones onto the crowd as if a UFO had entered the venue or a video game was playing out during Mutant Gossip. A thought did occur, in that the current staging may have suited a festival set up more, and that perhaps an in the round rotating stage could serve as a benefit for an arena show.
There’s a low-key-meets-high-value aura about The Slow Rush tour. Parker and his fellow musicians at times seem to be in their own world on stage, as if they were just jamming at home instead of playing to a sold-out arena. Whilst at times that created brief moments of disconnect between the performers and audience, songs including Breathe Deeper, Apocalypse Dreams and New Person, Same Old Mistakes, to name a few, created a divine unity between artist and audience. Audacious dance moves flowed throughout the arena, as the devoted crowd sung along to every word and left behind their inhibitions to enjoy a night of world-class musicianship.
Parkers perfectly tuned vocals shone throughout the night, with each performer expertly showcasing their individual musicianship, whilst also working cohesively together and never missing a beat. The sonic palette present within Tame Impala’s music reaches new heights in a live setting, reverberating throughout the venue and presenting the songs in a new light. Ending the set with an encore of The Less I Know The Better, and One More Hour, the two year wait had been worth it for the appeased crowd.