Quite simply‚ this gig was the most befitting place for a laser light show that I've been at since I listened to Pink Floyd in a planetarium 17 years ago. For fans of good old-fashioned‚ psychedelic rock‚ Tame Impala are the best thing to come around since you spent $500 on a '77 Chevy Impala that still had the original 8-track player in it. So with the success of last year's Lonerism‚ the hype about this show at the Crystal was bigger than my need to use three corny analogies in the first 100 words of this review.

After watching‚ and being pleasantly surprised by opener Jonathan Wilson's fierce tromping of his tagline of "Laurel Canyon Revitalist‚" it was hard to deny the percolating energy of the room. Now either the entire crowd had a near academic knowledge of the band‚ or else they were just ready for any fuzz-riff throw at them‚ because there was an explosive response to the opening cut "Led Zeppelin" -- a bonus track from the new LP that I was unfamiliar with. In fact‚ despite an extra-elevated response to some of the hits‚ the crowd's boisterous reaction at the start of each song was massive enough that it served as no gauge to tell whether a tune was from the new album or from one of their early-issue EPs.
The band's stage presence was fairly non-dramatic; basically your classic display of long-haired shoe-gazing. But it's no matter‚ because it's hard to take your eyes off the sound-wave light show that's directly tied into the guitar of front-man Kevin Parker. During "Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind" he went for an extended journey with it -- a display so intrinsically cool that even the most restrained sophist would let out a mind-blown "whoa" like they were Slater in Dazed and Confused. For the most part each song stayed true to its album form‚ which is actually quiet impressive considering the studio tracks are performed solely by Parker and the touring band is a five-piece. And still‚ despite a lack of intrepid expansion‚ there was no denying that the big hitters like "Elephant" and "Feels Like We Only Move Backwards" had a soul-blooming attack to them that isn't present on the studio recordings. The problem is that the songs seem to have such potential for getting fully fleshed out‚ and the band's attack is so raw and fierce that it feels like it's a loss for them to stay under five minutes. I'm by no means saying that Tame Impala needs to become more of a jam-band‚ but some of those grooves just beg to stick around a little longer. The only time this happened was on the set closing "Half Glass of Wine‚" where the band locked into a looping power-pocket for a solid ten minutes before dropping back into the tune. All in all‚ the performance was enormous and a testament to the notion that maybe all the best rock bands didn't die off 30 years ago. If it wasn't such a certainty that the set-list would be nearly identical‚ I almost contemplated driving up to Vancouver to see the next show.