Tame Impala

Tame Impala - Photo by Dan Grant
Tame Impala – Photo by Dan Grant

Koi Child/Leure

Hotel Rottnest

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Braving the tempestuous surf like a throng of dishevelled Captain Ahabs seeking their psychedelic Moby Dick, Tame Impala fans were seen en masse braving the (sort-of) high seas to Rottnest Island. The rocking boats and police presence did little to quell the spirits – or quell the consumption of spirits – of the ANZAC weekend revellers. With the ferries reaching the island a couple of hours before the first act began, punters were left to their own devices to enjoy the idyllic reefs, island wildlife and hotel bar.

The smooth down-tempo beats and ethereal vocals of Leure eased fans into an afternoon of music. The songstress, armed with a guitar and beflowered DJ desk, crooned track after track with transcendent mystique. The courtyard acoustics, which proved to be somewhat muddy with following acts, complimented the clarity of Leure’s minimalistic setup. The music was alluring, though suffered from a lack of dynamic and variety in songs, which caused the set to blur.

The incestuous offspring of local bands Child’s Play and Kashikoi, Koi Child, marked a change in the evening’s festivities. Frontman, Shannon Cruz Patterson, warmed the crowd up with his restless onstage antics and confident lyrical spin. The band itself laid down solid hip hop grooves – the interaction between drummer, Blake Hart, and bassist, Yan Isaac, being one of the highlights – augmented by intelligent jazz harmonies. The set itself was somewhat lethargic and unsure, and the reverb-laden horn lines felt diminished, mirroring the island’s chaotic, swirling eddies when pumped out into the open space courtyard. The set itself was a constantly moving, risk-taking journey with generous improvisation and musically sensitive band interaction.

Shortly after, the front-of-stage crowd swelled as Tame Impala donned their instruments, backed by a looped synth line. The introverted charm of frontman, Kevin Parker, set the tone for the introspective, psychedelic journey backed by an acid track of technicolour visuals – though songs themselves felt over-rehearsed and reserved, with stilted segues. Tame Impala fans got what they came for, with extended versions of their back catalogue doing the album versions justice. However, there was little in the set that felt unique or inventive. That being said, the maelstrom of reverb vocal effects and rich, phaser-heavy guitar riffs of songs such as Solitude Is Bliss washed over the crowd, creating a heady musical experience. The four-song encore was kicked off with Feels Like We Only Go Backwards with Parker’s falsetto vocals sung competently, and the inclusion of Half Full Glass Of Wine, with its thunderous, garage rock riff polarising the Parker’s placating vocal lines marked a refreshing end to the set.