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Tame Impala's 5 Steps to Headliner Status

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Tame Impala have been on hiatus for some time now, considering that the main-man Kevin Parker has seemingly spent more time brushing shoulders with the likes of pop-titans Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson of late, as well as it being three years since the release of their lauded 2015 album Currents.

Luckily, nearly two years after their triumphant shows at London's Alexandra Palace, it was announced that Tame Impala were confirmed as a UK exclusive headliner for this years Citadel Festival in Gunnersbury Park, and it's testament to their immense popularity that they're able to command the pinnacle slot of such a prestigious summer festival after some time out of the spotlight. 

As I'm sure you're aware, rising to headliner status doesn't happen overnight, and Kevin Parker along with his band of psyched-out hometown pals have been playing together as early as 2007, releasing some of the most fluorescent psychedelic-rock this side of 1970.

Their live performances should be duly noted as kaleidoscopic spectaculars, which is why we're incredibly excited to see what they bring to Citadel this July. In preparation, we've listed the live performances that captured our imaginations and helped propel them into the festival elite. 

See below for your perusal:

1. Live at Summer Sonic Festival, 2009.


Before Tame Impala had even released their debut album they'd already developed an international fanbase, and their debut overseas festival appearance at Summer Sonic in Japan gave them a taste of what was to come.

After uploading several tracks to Myspace in 2007, several record labels scrambled for Kevin Parker's signature. Two EP releases later, as well as support slots for MGMT, Yeasayer, and The Black Keys and the band were well on their way.

Note the early performance of 'Half Full Glass of Wine' which has become a setlist staple and fan-favourite to this day, as the band continue to jam this out and create an even more mind-bending version than that of the original when they perform live. 


2. Yours Truly Session, 2010.


This blissed-out rendition of 'Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind?' against the backdrop of the Californian forest highlights the ideal environment to listen to their critically-acclaimed 2010 debut album Innerspeaker as you can virtually feel the vibrating guitar lines echoing through the trees.

The sun-faded, washed-out vocals became a trademark of Kevin Parker's production, giving the band a hybrid sound between the latter-year Beatles and psychedelic elder statesmen The Flaming Lips, much to the delight of both publications and fans in the UK and US.


3. Glastonbury, 2013.


Glastonbury, oh Glastonbury. The sheer exposure it gives artists can change a career on the spot and with the addition of French hip-hop drummer Julien Barbagallo, this was the point where Tame Impala proved to be a real force as live performers.

The release of 2012 sophomore album Lonerism saw Kevin Parker develop the band's sonic palette, and the album received widespread acclaim for it's mixture of introspective lyrics, intricate sound production, and strong sense of melody, ending up with a Grammy Nomination for Best Alternative Music Album.

Just look at the Glastonbury faithful respond to lead single 'Elephant' at the 18:00 minute point. Well, and truly, kicks off.


4. Triple J Live Session, 2013.


Covering Outkast's 'Prototype' may've appeared an odd choice of cover for a band that previously drew comparisons with The Beatles, but it exemplified Kevin Parker's musical diversity and almost suggests the direction for the next album.

This scaled-down performance highlights Kevin Parker's inspiration for melody, the versatility of the band, and brings his crystalline vocals to the fore.


5. Panorama Music Festival, 2017.


2015's Currents was released to both critical and commercial acclaim, pushing Tame Impala into the mainstream consciousness due to it's expansive synthy-psychedelic and R'n'B-tinged aesthetic. 

Lead single 'Let It Happen' is both a trippy and rapturous seven minute long wig-out, perfect to get you off your feet and into a hallucinatory state of mind, which acts as the supreme set opener.

Currents was admired so much in fact, that Rihanna covered the final track on the album 'New Person, Same Old Mistakes' which opened up an entirely new fanbase for the band.

Having toured the album extensively, the final stop was a headline performance at Panorama Music Festival. A cosmic end to that chapter which culminated with both mind-altering visual production and a band at the peak of their powers.



Tame Impala's headline performance at Citadel Festival is a UK exclusive, but you can still catch them at either Mad Cool Festival or Pitchfork Music Festival throughout the summer. 

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