Tame Impala’s headlining set Sunday at Treasure Island Music Festival was a fitting end to the weekendlong spectacle. The band’s minimalist, charismatic stage design and live performance culminated in a trippy yet immersive event that tore down the confines of the stage and mesmerized the gargantuan audience.
Tame Impala has not released a full-length album since 2015’s Currents. Its setlist for the show was therefore kind of predictable, the songs being familiar to a nevertheless exuberant crowd. Audience participation was a major factor in Tame Impala’s success, as the audience clapped in unison to the catchy drum patterns throughout the hit song “Let It Happen.” Concertgoers sang the iconic refrain to “Eventually” with the band and chanted the hook to “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.” In the absence of a vocal track, the voices of the crowd and frontman Kevin Parker seemed to converge into a single entity.
This communitas fed off and fed into the band’s energy, creating an airtight feedback loop that ensured Tame Impala’s success. Despite Parker’s awkwardness — he said little more than “Thank you guys” after each song — the band seamlessly connected with its crowd through its music.
A testament to this synergy was the band’s entrancing lighting and staging. Though Tame Impala lacked flashy set pieces and amazing outfits, it brought a deceptively simple array of color-changing LED lights that pointed upward from the band’s feet, into the sky and toward the crowd. These lights penetrated and gave color to a constant cloud of smoke coming out of machines that spilled out a hazy backdrop for the band’s performance.
Tame Impala’s signature psychedelia was furthered by its showstopping use of laser lights that showed behind the band and pierced through the crowd, transforming what would otherwise be a band-to-crowd experience into a moment of unity between Parker, his crew and his fans.
Justin Sidhu covers music. Contact him at [email protected].