Tame Impala / Melody’s Echo Chamber
Hammersmith Apollo, London, Tuesday, 25 June
Reaching the venue early, we joined a long line of excited fans. As I looked around, I recognised many boys sporting classic Tame Impala styles: long middle-parted hair, snoods around their necks, headbands, the whole Tame Impala shebang. As the clock struck 7:00pm, the fan community rose at once to their feet, and one by one marched into the venue. Racing for a pee, and then heading straight into the standing area, we anticipated the band's, 'special guests.'
No surprise, support came in the form of Melody's Echo Chamber (aka Kevin Parker's g-friend and her band), which made total sense, considering both bands later that week would be heading to the big Glasto. After Melody Prochet's previous band My Bee's Garden supported the headliners back in 2010, the French-lass collaborated avec Tame Impala's main-man Kevin Parker to create one of the finest debut's of 2012. She and her band eased the crowd into an adventure of dream pop, preparing the audience to be launched into it later. There's something about Melody's Echo Chamber that pulls them apart from the rest of psychedelia groups. It could quite be her whispy French accent, or the fact that the band's line up is so mismatched that they ooze with quirkiness. One song in particular was a highlight from the set. Crystallized, which the singer dedicated to her beau. The song itself, is coated in a distressed sound, whilst Prochet's eerie vocals float about. In comparison to many of their other tracks, it provides a heavier beat, enabling bodies to ripple and heads to nod. The whole set was completely delightful and the humbleness of the group evoked love throughout the audience.
With the 5,000 capacity full, and the clock striking 9:00pm, the King's of Australian psychedelic rock paraded onto the stage. There is no possible way that words can explain the kind of frenzy that the crowd endured, all I can say is that a hell of a lot of boys were fan-girling. Screaming from their hearts 'I'll turn gay for you!' and judging by the expressions painted on their faces, they weren't lying. The show opened with the iconic Solitude Is Bliss taken from the band's debut Innerspeaker. Not one member of the crowd didn't know the song lyric by lyric. Hearing 5,000 devotees yelling at the tops of their voices 'YOU WILL NEVER COME CLOSE TO HOW I FEEL', creates butterflies in your belly, that will never be created again. It was unbelievably sensational. Kevin Parker and his crew drifted from songs taken from both Innerspeaker and latest album Lonerism. Each song is so powerful and unique in some way or another, but still resembling the band's divine psychedelic quirk.
Another song that stood out from the rest was the latest single to be released from 2012's Lonerism, which took shape in the form of Elephant. The track itself could be argued to be the band's most famous song, and along with this one of the heaviest. Combining these two things has produced a bit of a TUNE for many o'folk. Groups of lads pushing and shoving, crowd surfing and jumping upon each other's shoulders. It's fair to compare the response received from it to none other than The Fratellis Chelsea Dagger.
Many members of the crowd really helped to stereotype the typical listeners of psychedelic music, by lighting up spliffs in the crowd, or flapping their dreaded hair about with beady eyes. I saw a lot of randomers participating in severe grinding action, then moving onto the next body insight. Classy. One boy next to me even kept viciously itching himself then giggling and shouting 'mosquitoes' before returning to his itching motion. I couldn't help but wonder whether he was referring to Tame Impala's song 'Forty One Mosquitoes Flying In Formation' or whether he had just taken something that made him hallucinate. Either way, at least he was having fun, unlike the old guy near me, who had stuffed earplugs in his ear holes and still continued to cup his ears. I mean ARE YOU FOR REAL?! like dude, what did you seriously expect?
Personally, for me, the biggest highlight came from 'Half Full Glass Of Wine.' As if this song isn't hefty enough, being 4 minutes and 26 seconds of pure psychedelic rock, the band chose to extend it, leaving the crowd in a sweaty mosh of thousands of people. I can honestly say that it was the maddest 12 minutes I have ever participated in, but yet somehow proved to be pleasurably painful. During this, hoards of sweat-infested men crowd surfed above our heads, half-naked bodies flopping around, both on the floor and in the sky. This song summed up the concert as a whole, mental.
It's fair to say you know it's been a good gig when you started at the front centre and ended up touching both sides of the Apollo, and somehow managed to finish back in the centre.