When Kevin Parker’s Tame Impala announced a mini-tour of the UK’s enormodomes following the release of Currents, there may well have been a few eyebrows raised.
Although the anthemic nature of the band’s third album has undoubtedly catapulted them to new heights, the jump from introverted psych-rockers to arena-conquering behemoths is a treacherous path.
The standing section is packed out with a youthful crowd, almost boiling over with excitement, as the opening glitches of ‘Let It Happen’ come in, but there are signs that Tame Impala still find themselves as comparative inbetweeners at this point, as the top tier is left covered by a curtain and there are some empty seats below.
Inevitably, Currents is the most prominent influence on the set, with the gliding synths of ‘Eventually’ and ‘New Person, Same Mistakes’, producing full-on ‘hands in the air’ moments.
Parker himself also has new polished stage presence. Gone is the barefoot-gaze of the Lonerism tour four years ago. Slightly more rocking though that was, what we are presented with now is a man embracing pop stardom while keeping it interesting.
Although early garage-rock stompers like ‘Half Full Glass of Wine’ and ‘Skeleton Tiger’ have fallen away from the set, it’s nice to hear the pulsating rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?’ ring across the arena.
The band’s slicker reincarnation is backed up by four sound guys in each corner of the stage, hinting at the possible complexity of the operation by donning lab coats.
The main set is brought to an end with an enthralling rendition of ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ before Parker and co leave the stage to prepare for an encore that was guaranteed from the off.
What happens next is perhaps the clearest indicator that Tame Impala are on a trajectory that shows now bounds. Firm favourite ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’, remains the biggest showstopper in Parker’s arsenal.
Even he looks amazed as he exclaims that’s the most people on shoulders he has ever seen. On this evidence he’d better get used to it.