Tame Impala + Benjamin Booker @ Bell Centre – June 12th, 2016

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We arrived to an eerie Bell Centre about 15 minutes early.  The normal corridor mayhem of people was particularly tame that evening.  Maybe they felt like I did, after all the activities surrounding the Grand-Prix…a little tired.  We found our seats in a sparsely filled arena to hear Benjamin Booker (New Orleans) open up.  Although it’s hard to pin him down to just one style, just imagine if Tom Waits joined a Rockabilly band, and that gives you a good idea.

Unfortunately, the acoustics of an arena did not lend well to his style of music.  It’s funny to say, but an arena does not reward complexity of sounds.  That is why Arena Rock was born, those slower heavy beats and guitar power chords that made their way to the back of the auditorium before the next wave of sound would hit.  I’m sure a more intimate venue would have brought the house down!  Max Norton was quite a sight to see on the drums as he pounded these to an inch of their lives.

The lights came back on as the roadies, dresses in white lab coats arranged the stage.  In fact, even the light technicians and sound engineers wore white lab coats as if we were all part of some grandiose experiment of sound and vision.

Several teasers before the main act included what looked like a sniper rifle target turn into some weird brain scanning apparatus, apparently verifying if we were prepared for what was to come next.  The lasers scanned the crowd as the lab technicians continued merrily on their way preparing the stage.

Finally, the lights are turned off, the Bell Centre has filled to a more acceptable level and we are treated to 17 songs that washed over the crowd in wave after wave of the soothing sounds of Parker and psychedelic colors and visuals behind the band.  Most of the songs tonight would come from the 2015 “Currents” and the 2012 “Lonerism”.

Tame Impala started us off slow with “Nangs” but picked it up with “Let It Happen” where the dancing experiment was kick started by blasts of confetti.  Bands normally keep the confetti for the finale, but Tame Impala was bringing their best right from the start.  I’m sure many on the floor are still finding confetti tucked in the most unlikely places days later, as several more blasts of confetti were rained upon the audience and Parker would occasionally pick up a handful and shower the crowd.

The dancing was kept up all night through “The Moment” and “The Less I Know The Better” ending their set with “Apocalypse Dreams”.  I can’t help but think that this is how the Beatles might have sound like if they added some synths to the band.

My favorite of the evening was “Elephant” which just has an intense groove and soul.

The encore consisted of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”, more confetti and an arena picked up and made to move to the sounds projected on them.  The last song from “Currents” was also the last song of the show.

It was an upbeat evening with stunning visuals and enough confetti to make me wonder if there isn’t a whole tour bus devoted to the confetti canons.  I guess you can say we had a blast!

Excerpts from the show:

Set List

Nangs
Let it Happen
Mind Mischief
Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?
Why Won’t They Talk To Me?
The Moment
Elephant
The Less I Know the Better
Daffodils (Mark Ronson cover)
Eventually
Yes I’m Changing
Alter Ego
Oscilly
It Is Not Meant to Be
Apocalypse Dreams

Encore
Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
New Person, Same Old Mistakes

 

Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and Business coach with a passion for live music.  You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Photo – Nick Fancher/Stereogum

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