Listen to Austin 360 Radio

ACL Fest review: Tame Impala

Staff Writer
Austin 360

By Eric Pulsifer

Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 7, 2013

Australian psychedelic rock import Tame Impala played the sun down at the Honda Stage on Sunday night. Singer and guitarist Kevin Parker came out in a paisley scarf and eggplant purple jeans carrying the newest member of the band: a stuffed tiger named “Gavin.” While Gavin wasn’t the most charismatic performer on stage, the band’s druggy, stellar tunes were executed with dead sober precision. “We’re really amazingly [expletive] excited to be here, and you have to be sympathetic toward our excitement because it’s our first time at Austin City Limits,” Parker said.

The band drew a male-heavy crowd that started tapering off near the sound booth where the blanket set took over. There I spotted making out in the grass, meditating, hula-hoop dancing, napping and the performance of other activities you’d expect during a spacey rock set. Though Tame Impala only has two full-length albums to their name, those albums have been among the best rock albums of the past few years, giving the band plenty of material to pull from. Early hit “Solitude is Bliss” got a big rise from the crowd with its warbling guitars sounding like a jet taking off over the Great Lawn and Parker singing with the haze of a dozen echos in his mic, “There’s a party in my head, and no one is invited / And you will never come close to how I feel.” The set peaked at the halfway point, with “Elephant” igniting the crowd up front in a wave of jumping, head banging and crowd surfing (the latter of which was quickly curtailed by security) followed by the hypnotic jog of “Be Above It,” the jam session centerpiece of the show.

With the chug and squelch of guitar licks that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Deep Purple or Cream song, Tame Impala proved a psych act capable of doubling as a pleasant surprise for old-school rock heads.

Setlist

1. Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?

2. Solitude is Bliss

3. Why Won’t They Talk to Me?

4. Half Full Glass of Wine

5. Elephant

6. Be Above It

7. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

8. Desire Be, Desire Go

9. Mind Mischief

10. Apocalypse Dreams