Tame Impala, The Institute, Birmingham 14/07/14

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There aren’t many bands that can incite such unanimous appreciation. Indeed, as the venue flooded with people, and the air was alight with anticipation, it was already impossible to deny Tame Impala’s ingenuity. Since the release of latest album Lonerism, the Australian psych-outfit have gone from somewhat stratospheric strength to strength, and their performance at The Institute served only to cement why they’ve come to mean so much in the minds of those present.
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Spiralling and swirling visuals set the backdrop as the group took their places on stage. From the moment the first chords rang out, nothing else mattered. As ‘Be Above It’ gave way to ‘Solitude Is Bliss’ the show was in full swing. The crowd surged with energy, crowdsurfers soared overhead, and song lyrics resounded from wall to wall.
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Intense though the setting may have been, it didn’t diminish from the music for a second. The bands tightly-honed sound was even larger in the flesh. Brought to life through the speakers, soaring sonics engulfed the room whole, transforming it into a setting of vibrant colours, luscious soundscapes, and wholly addictive material.
The band’s understated performance served only to emphasise the strength of their sound, reaching it’s highest point during a deliciously drawn-out performance of ‘Half Full Glass Of Wine’ capable of rendering even the most somber and sober speechless.
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But as with any live showcase, it was the hits that really saw everyone let go. ‘Elephant,’ ‘Mind Mischief,’ and the encored ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ were near-rapturous celebrations of the moments that everyone was sharing in the crammed, darkened, sweaty room.
‘Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control’ drew the show to a near-euphoric ending, it’s extended instrumental section leaving the venue enthralled and enraptured as the group bid their gratitude and goodbyes before vacating the stage.
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Singing along to songs about solitude might not seem like the brightest way to blast away the Monday blues, but at The Institute on Monday night Tame Impala showcased a set that swamped every emotion. Heralded as genius, their prowess is unmistakable, and all too easy to get swept up by. Performing in a venue packed to the rafters with enthusiasm, they showed the city exactly what live shows should be about.
Photographs by Edward Taylor
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