We were in a small bar across from the ocean in Santa Monica and it was my birthday. And sure, we were in L.A., but Tame Impala has to play somewhere…and it was still my birthday. The inside of the bar looks like a boat and the bartender has suspenders on and seems to have forgotten that Prohibition has ended. We down a couple of Moscow Mules, get up to leave and notice a turntable. We ask if there’s something happening here later and the bartender says some model is having a birthday party with 40 of her model friends. One of the boys coughs on his last sip and we decide we’ll just leave the tab open and return after the show.
We get to the El Rey in Hollywood just in time to miss the opening act. We mow our way through the crowd like cannonballs through high-grass and everyone gives us those disdainful “You’ve just touched me…and at a live concert?” looks. Gotta love L.A. But we ignore them because Tame Impala is starting and because it’s my birthday so technically, I can do what I want. Lead singer and guitarist, Kevin Parker, steps on stage barefoot and the West Australian quintet proceeds to blow the El Rey’s top off. They are psychedelic, shades of Cream and Hendrix, but modern, hints of Apples in Stereo. Parker channels the voice of John Lennon, and we are in heaven. But there are no Mick Jagger theatrics from Parker, just big-ass sound. So it is up to us to get the zombies moving. A dance tunnel. A cha-cha train. Trust-falls. Moderate disdain.
Buzzing off Tame, we gun it back to the boat bar. Inside it’s hopping…but where are the models? Mr. Suspenders points to some stairs guarded by a suit with a clipboard. “You on the list?” asks the suit. “No…but it’s my birthday,” I reason. He shakes his head. Damn you, L.A. —Beau Flemister