|Kevin Parker of Tame Impala.|
@ The Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Last night Tame Impala pulled into LA for the first night of a two night, sold out (3800 tickets a night at 40 dollars per ticket) stand at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. When I was asked whether I'd like to attend, I expressed interest in seeing the venue, The Hollywood Forever Cemetery which is by all accounts one of those "Only in LA" places to see a show. However, I left humming the Tame Impala tunes, impressed with a band whose rise is perhaps the most remarkable rock success story of this decade.
Tame Impala is essentially the solo project of Australian Kevin Parker, who writes and arranges the music himself. They are currently touring as a conventional rock five piece, though their live set veers from rock into a kind of Chemical Brothers style electronica. Although Parker's stage presence ranges from dull to boring, the elaborate laser and light show that accompanies the set adequately compensates for the lack of physical energy. Tame Impala's songs are almost impossibly catchy to the point of being simplistic, a trait which has probably helped them in their rise to alt rock radio levels of popularity. A well-known producer who was at the show with me mentioned a lack of "pre-choruses," and I don't know what those are, but the crowd- wasn't there for musical complexity.
I was prepared to write a review describing the venue as the star of the show, but I scrapped that take based on Tame Impala doing such a great job entertaining the audience. Parker was obviously appreciative both of the crowd and the venue itself. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is indeed a one of a kind venue- Audience members pass through the front gate and walk through the cemetery itself to the back corner of the site, where there is an open field. The crowds are kept well off the graves themselves, though the mausoleums surrounding the audience area were purpose lit in purple and red shades in tune with the rock show vibe. Fans are encourage to arrive early and bring picnic wares. By the time Tame Impala took the stage (promptly at 830 PM) the crowd was well lubricated (but not rowdy) and the smell of premium California marijuana saturate the air.
Starting with the single from their current record, they interspersed new cuts with old hits and the crowd was held in rapt attention. Not me so much, but I certainly enjoyed the show- more so than many other rock shows I've been to in the past couple years. Who can quarrel with Tame Impala (Kevin Parker)'s success? Playing music that people like, being genuinely appreciative about the fact that people like the music- there really isn't more than that, or there shouldn't have to be. Selling 7600 tickets at 40 bucks a pop ain't bad, neither.