Last night, Australian psychedelic rock group, Tame Impala, played at The Bell Center in Montreal. The tour is in support of their Grammy-nominated 2015 album, Currents. It is the 4th city on their 2016 North American tour. After a sell-out show at Metropolis in May 2015, the band was ready for a bigger venue. While only the floor and first section of the reds were used – a more intimate audience for The Bell Center – the performance had fans on their feet, dancing from the opening track until their 2 song encore.
The show started with several minutes of futuristic kaleidoscope-like projections matching the trippy sounds of “Nangs” followed by an extended version of “Let It Happen,” the opening track on Currents. It wasn’t long before cannons were shooting multicolored confetti – much of which ended up on stage – and scattered clouds of smoke rose from the audience.
Frontman and founder Kevin Parker welcomed and thanked the audience in French, a sure way to get any Montreal crowd roaring.
The psychedelic visuals continued, with a classic and pleasing old-fashioned light show as the band played “Mind Mischief”. By the end of the track, the audience was waving their lighters – a nice contrast to the phone lights we typically see.
Before playing Elephant, one of their original big tracks, Parker exclaimed that “here’s where the party starts.” Without hesitation any fans that weren’t already standing (there weren’t many), were up on their feet, dancing to the catchy, bass-heavy track. With the momentum going, they moved into “The Less I Know the Better” which was complimented by disco ball lights, reminiscent of their music video high school scenes.
Staying true to their very classic synth-psychedelia sound, Tame Impala covered Mark Ronson’s “Daffodils.” After “Eventually” was “Yes I’m Changing.” This was the only track accompanied by videography: a girl riding a bicycle through a town and running down to the beach.
The mood moved into a more mellow vibe as the stage went dark with spotlights on Parker facing away from the crowd. He began playing the chords of Alter Ego, while projections perfectly matching his sound waves mesmerized the crowd. During this track and “It Is Not Meant To Be” many sat down for the first and only time that night. The band thanked the audience after playing their closing track “Apocalypse Dream” again before heading off stage.
The Bell Center’s lights stayed dim as colorful stage lights stayed on. The crowd was chanting for an encore and an encore they received. As the band came on, drinks in hand, Parker shared that Montreal was possibly the loudest crowd they’ve ever played for and encouraged the audience to keep chanting and to sing along with the next track, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.” Again, confetti was shot up into the air, landing on both the ground floor audience and the stage. A few of the roadies were blowing the confetti off the keyboards as Parker enthusiastically threw some into the crowd. After the track finished, he jokingly stated that the “confetti was only going backwards.”
Tame Impala closed the energetic show with “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” and a huge thank you to the crowd, sharing that they hope to see us again soon.
With a sound as unique as Tama Impala’s, one might question whether a live performance could live up to their recorded, psychedelic masterpieces. Thankfully, the band did more than just live up to the sound of their recordings with paired visuals, enthusiastic crowd engagement and colorful lights and projections. Tame Impala’s modern psych-rock sound has grown through their last album and this supporting tour, no doubt leading to have a huge influence on other artists and the genre as a whole.
Benjamin Booker, based out of New Orleans, who last played in Montreal in April 2015 at Sala Rossa, opened up with a soulful, upbeat set.
Let It Happen
Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind
Why Won’t They Talk To Me?
The Less I Know The Better
Daffodils (Mark Ronson cover)
Yes I’m Changing
It Is Not Meant To Be
Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
New Person, Same Old Mistakes