Displaying influences ranging from Southern Rock, Led Zeppelin, Afrobeat (drummer Josh Block and bassist Steve Terebecki) and a half dozen more, White Denim’s first-rate musicians created a snap-your-head-back, stunner of a set. Over hypnotic rhythms, drones and more, sprang (as if from nowhere) piercing, alternately nasty or gorgeous, blistering guitar solos from both the band’s guitarists (newer member, Austin Jenkins and James Petralli, whose soulful vocals come across far cleaner in a live setting) that made their deft performance all the better.
If White Denim’s new record, “Corsicana Lemonade” (due out 10/29, with two tracks produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, if that helps.), is as wall-to-wall relentless as their set was Saturday night, it ought to make a lot of best of 2013 lists.
Perth, Australia’s Tame Impala is wrapping up almost a year of touring the world in support of the band’s acclaimed second album, “Lonerism.” Saturday’s Boulder set marked the band’s first Colorado appearance in more than three years. Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker writes (and sings) songs that suggest what John Lennon and/or the Beatles might have sounded like if Lennon had kept doing LSD, instead of turning to heroin and Primal Therapy.
Far from replicating the songs from their two albums, the live takes were stepping stones to even wilder, often face-melting, musical forays of swirling, fuzzy, layered synths and guitars. The music was augmented by multiple effect pedals with a stellar light show. And, the icing on the cake – that voice! Parker’s Lennon-like vocals sounded even better live than on record.
Throughout Tame Impala’s set, you heard plenty of other musical references, besides the frequently cited Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles. At times, you heard “colors”: Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Pink Floyd, even Tangerine Dream.
Tame Impala’s all-too-short regular set ended with a shattering “Apocalypse Dreams” that was nothing short of majestic — all the band’s elements crashed the notes like thunder throughout the song’s climax. They encored and took it even higher, leading it off with “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.”
Witnessing a show this sonic-minded, at a venue with near perfect sound, more than made up for the long time it took to get Tame Impala back to Colorado. Given Tame Impala’s rapidly growing fan base, let’s hope when they return to play a bigger venue here next go-round, it’s at Red Rocks … say, next summer.
Mike Long is a Longmont-based writer and comedian and a regular contributor to Reverb.
Glenn Ross is a Denver-based photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work here.