Review: Tame Impala at the Echoplex

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From KCRW DJ Mario Cotto:

You remember being a little kid around the holidays? The excitement and expectation of potentially being handed a gift by family, friends, and strangers at any given moment? The strange simple psychedelia of waking up one morning and going outside and seeing everyone’s houses suddenly draped in multi-colored lights?

Well, last night’s Tame Impala show at the Echoplex was like that. My girl, KCRW DJ Liza Richardson, gifted the crowd with a rad set of trippy guitar jams by the 13th Floor Elevators, Can, Malkmus, and more…then, LA’s Rainbow Arabia gave the audience a desert psychpunk experience akin to going on a mindwalk through the Mojave. Liza kicked out some more jams…then without much pomp, the boys of Tame Impala ambled onto the stage and just started playing, “It Is Not Meant to Be.”

Caught off guard, everyone in the back rushed to the front to see the band, but to no avail as the entire room was packed. Expectations were high, and these dudes did not disappoint.

Playing all their tracks with a shambolic grace and a simple projected backdrop of their soundwaves in real time…it felt like we’d all been transported to an alternate mid-70s club where Tame Impala’s lush, bloozy psych made them bigger than Zeppelin. “Lucidity” and “I Don’t Really Mind” played like perfect tracks to montage a Dazed & Confused roadtrip movie. A couple of times they broke into extended instrumental jams based on the riffs in “Solitude is Bliss” and “Desire Be Desire Go.”

But, the biggest surprise was their end of the night cover of Massive Attack’s “Angel.” As soon as the unmistakable loping bass started, I turned to my friend and asked, “Are they doing Massive Attack? THEY’RE DOING MASSIVE ATTACK!”

It was like giving a kid one of those Russian dolls with another doll hidden inside. When it was all said and done, it was an awesome, incredibly lovely night of woozy music that complements the timeless saying, “Ho Ho Ho, Trippy Holidays and to all a good night!”

Mario Cotto