April 15, 2013


Apocalypse Vibes: Tame Impala Summon Otherworldly Coachella Sandstorm

Shannon Stewart for Fuse
Shannon Stewart for Fuse

Ever wanted to watch Tame Impala rock out during a sandstorm on Mars? Well, the Australian psych band's performance Sunday evening at Coachella is the closest you'll ever get. 

In the early afternoon, the wind kicked up at the Polo Grounds, and big time. The palm trees leaned sideways, leaves flew away, the mountains were swallowed whole by a thick, unrelenting sand blast. Fans retreated to layer on more clothes, or even seek out face masks or ski goggles. The sun, now near setting, wasn't full of brilliant colors, but cast a dull glow in the distance, distributing its flat orange hue equally across the sky. It was like a painted wall. It was like the cover of the Flaming Lips' new album. It was like every sand-blasted apocalypse film made since Mad Max.

Incredibly, a helicopter hovered over the festival during the storm: "I hope that thing doesn't crash down here," one fan worried. Then Tame Impala hit the nervy, hair-raising first notes of "Elephant," one of the first best tracks from their new album, Lonerism. It's a T. Rex-like, distorted guitar chug that sounds like you're being chased. They break for a jazz-fusion interlude of guitar and key tinkering, then—


If you're on psychedelics, smart money says you're f-cked. This is the recipe for the best bad trip ever.

Thankfully, Tame Impala brought a sky blue Valium for an antidote. Next, the quintet played "Feels Like We Only Going Backwards," another core Lonerism track. It's gorgeous and blissful and comforting. The key and vocal melodies floated in the wind, the breeze wrapping them around you. The helicopter left and the sky slowly turned from from a Hazmat orange to diluted watercolor blue.

...strange times in paradise.