I went to see Tame Impala!

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Tame Impala.

On Thursday the 19th, I had the pleasure of seeing one of my favourite bands live: Tame Impala! The Western Australian psychedelic rock band have been touring their home country in support of their latest album, Currents, and I managed to catch the second gig they played in my city, Adelaide, at one of my favourite venues, the Thebarton Theatre. In short, it was an absolutely amazing night!

Tame Impala are an anomaly in the current music industry: their albums are created by just one member (Kevin Parker), the rest of the band only joining for the tours; they play a unique brand of psychedelia that sounds somewhere between an early Pink Floyd album and a modern dance record; their popularity appears only to continue to rise, despite their alternative credentials. They’ve been a staple on the Australian music scene since their debut EP was released in 2008, and each of their three albums – 2010’s Innerspeaker, 2012’s Lonerism, July’s Currents – have garnered mass acclaim, from fans and critics alike. They’ve been one of my favourite bands for about a year, and I’ve wanted to see them almost since then, after reading a number of rave reviews of their live shows.

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More Tame Impala.

I arrived at the theatre about an hour before the show began, and bought a poster beforehand, but it didn’t seem take long for the support act to take the stage for their half-hour set. The support band were named Mini Mansions, and are perhaps most famous for being the side-project of Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman. Their music was similarly psychedelic to that of Tame Impala’s, but bass-ier and more catchy – I really enjoyed it! I had not heard of the band before the gig, but I have since enjoyed listening to some of their stuff.

A little while later, the sold-out theatre finally filled up  and Tame Impala took to the stage! Parker and his band played most of Currents, plus many tracks from Lonerism and a couple from Innerspeaker. I found it mesmerising to see a band I admire so much playing their music live, and it was amazing to hear songs I have listened to dozens of times over played in person!

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As mentioned before, I had read masses of reviews lauding Tame Impala’s live show – not only for their musical chops, but also for their impressive lighting – so I had particularly high expectations. These were well exceeded – certainly, in part, due to their light show! Throughout the gig, lights in shades of every bright colour imaginable flew, throbbed and flashed across the stage and over the crowd, illuminating suitably psychedelic backgrounds projected onto a screen behind the band. The pictures throughout this post are among my attempts to capture their beauty, but I feel they are something that needs to be seen in person to experience their true impressiveness.

Musically, among the highlights of Tame Impala’s show was a version of one of their better-known songs, ‘Elephant’. A stomping, fuzzed-up blues track, the song’s electrifying atmosphere seemed to project onto the audience, the entire moshpit seemingly swaying to the beat. But I felt every song was played well – it is clear that the band consists of incredibly good musicians, and this was perhaps even more obvious live than on their records. One thing I noticed was how close each song sounded to its studio counterpart, a feat all the more impressive due to the lack of 4/5ths of the touring band on each cut’s official version… Both musically and visually, the band were amazing.

It was wonderful to see Tame Impala live – their shows are definitely more than worthy of the accolade they receive! You can visit their website here.

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I went to see Courtney Barnett!

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Courtney Barnett

Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to see one of my favourite artists live; Courtney Barnett! She was playing a venue called The Gov, which is a bit famous in Adelaide. My parents bought me a ticket just under a day before the show, so thank you so much!

Me before the show

Me before the show

Courtney Barnett is an Australian indie singer, songwriter + guitarist. Her lyrics are marvelously witty and honest and funny, and she sings with her Australian accent. A lot of her songs are a little bit grungy, but a lot of them are softer, too. She and her partner Jen Cloher run an indie record label called Milk! Records. Courtney designs all her album art, too. She released her debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit in March this year.

The Gov opened its doors at 7:30 and Mum + I arrived not long after. But as we were waiting, somebody walks past us and into the beer garden. And that somebody was Courtney! So after a few minutes, I plucked up my courage and went up to her. I introduced myself and told her that I’m a huge fan. She introduced me to her drummer, Dave, shook my hand, and asked if I was from Adelaide. Dave then took a picture of Courtney and me! They both said they hoped I would enjoy the show. Both Courtney and Dave were really nice, and it was amazing to meet someone I really look up to as an aspiring musician! A memorable start to a memorable night! Courtney actually watched the supports in the audience, which I thought was cool.

Courtney and me!

Courtney and me!

Soon after, the first support band started. They were called The Yabbies, and they were okay, but I thought the second support band were really good! They were called Teeth and Tongue, and played a certain style of half-synth-y, half-guitar-y indie pop which is just pleasing to the ears. Their frontwoman — Jessica Cornelius — also had great stage presence, which is always a plus. I loved dancing to their beats, and got some good photos of them, too.

Teeth and Tongue

Teeth and Tongue

Finally, at around 9:45, Courtney and her band came on! She launched into ‘Elevator Operator’, the first song on her new album, and sung the words in her signature Aussie voice. Everyone stood up, and I took prime position on top of a booth seat so I could see!

Courtney

Courtney!

Courtney and her band then played ‘Lance Jr’, a song from her first EP. ‘Lance Jr’ was in fact the first song of hers that I heard. Courtney then talked to the audience for a bit and played a few more songs from her latest album, like ‘Aqua Profunda!’, ‘Dead Fox’, ‘Small Poppies’ and ‘Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party’.

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A lot of people who go and see Courtney live comment on how her live performances are a bit heavier than the studio versions of her songs. And they’re right. Courtney, Dave and her bassist (a dude called Bones!) absolutely rocked The Gov! The walls and floors were quite literally vibrating! Her voice was a little bit sweeter live than it is on her studio songs — but then, she almost screamed a few of the songs live, too. There was such an air of excitement and energy buzzing throughout The Gov that night…

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Courtney then played a few more songs. One of these was the B-side of her latest single, ‘Depreston’, which is all about house-hunting in a suburb in Melbourne called Preston. (Courtney, who lives in Melbourne, often references the city in her songs.) She also played a song called ‘Kim’s Caravan’, which is about the decline of the Great Barrier Reef and climate change in general. ‘Kim’s Caravan’ is one of the softer songs on Sometimes I Sit…, but it certainly wasn’t live. Courtney’s guitar was feeding like mad during the outro, and it sounded awesome! After a bit over an hour, Courtney, Dave and Bones finished the set with the gritty A-side of her latest single, ‘Pedestrian at Best’, left the stage…

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…And then came back! Courtney announced that she would play a cover of The Lemonheads’ ‘Bein’ Around’. She then dedicated a song to her Adelaide audience — one called ‘Pickles From The Jar’! The song mentions Adelaide a few times, hence the dedication… Finally, Courtney and her band finished off the encore with a heavy version of ‘I’ll Make You Happy’ by The Easybeats. And so she and her band finished her show a little bit after 11:00.

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I really, really enjoyed seeing Courtney Barnett live! Though I couldn’t see very well, and my ears rang for a while, I had an awesome night! Courtney really is amazing live, and is definitely a must-see. (And meeting her and Dave was a huge plus!) You can listen to Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit here, and you can buy it here.

I didn't take this picture. All credit goes to The Gov!

I didn’t take this picture. All credit goes to The Gov!