The audience at Cargo tonight is way out of step from what you traditionally expect from a recently BNM’d band. Sure, a few horn-rimmed glasses and fauxhemians have crept in, but for the most part it’s a comparatively un-Pitchfork crowd. There’s plenty of earnest facial hair on display, quite a few lank, greasy haircuts; I even hear a few people having an entirely enthusiastic conversation about Muse, plus there’s Led Zeppelin shirts galore on display. All things that would never occur or be present at a typical buzz band show – at least not sincerely.
At first, Tame Impala take to the stage and perform at a strange 3/4 speed, maybe more like 9/10th, as if someone’s lightly pressing their finger down to slow down the record as it spins or maybe the band didn’t fully charge before coming up. It’s down to jetlag, apparently. It’s a rare excuse, but the band are from the other side of the world so it seems fair enough and apart from a few instances of the rhythm section falling apart, or at least, appearing to fall apart, it could have been considered, proggy stops intended to jar, the band soon picks up momentum after a few songs and much riguorous head-nodding is indulged in.
The band perform a few left-turns: there’s a cover of 90s dance classic ‘Remember Me’ (in the Impala style) and a few b-sides/EP tracks dotted amongst the setlist. If they’d had two hours or so to fill then I’d understand such measures, but they weren’t and it feels a bit unnecessary. They already do a great job of adding organic and deliciously meandering grooves to their existing numbers and could have quite happily of played their more-familiar album from top to bottom. The cover’s quite good though and the approaching-ten-minute, Cream-vibing, gig-stealing juggernaut of Skel/Half Full Glass of Wine has something of a real classic about it – in fact much of the crowd is so familiar with it, I presume it’s a cover of a classic rock staple I’ve overlooked, which is always a good thing to have to say about an EP track.
It all gives the sense that Pitchfork has actually just discovered this band; they’ve clearly already got a sizeable and appreciative fanbase who can sing EP tracks with as much enthusiasm as the singles and it’s a nice feeling to have, especially about a band so far outside of the website’s ‘norm’ and so close in style to my musical first loves.
The band finish without indulging in the silly convention of a pre-meditated encore – though, on the quality of their performance and the crowd’s eagerness, they do have to point it out in a very un-rock’n’roll manner, but it’s commendable nonetheless. In the ear-ringing aftermath, a few men crowd around Parker’s pedal board with a mix of religious reverentially and scholarly interest, trying to trying to unravel clues as to how he gets that dream-like tone whilst the rest leave the sweaty venue in a hushed awe at having experienced something quite special from an excitingly young band on their way up.