I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Temples as I got into The Leadmill.
The release of Hot Motion marked the band’s third album, and like much of their previous work it was received rather divisively, with people seeing it as either a psychedelic triumph or a nostalgic pastiche.
Would this mean a live set full of trippy visuals and fuzzy guitars or just another band yearning to have been born decades earlier? Guess I’d have to find out.
Despite having two members quarantined due to coronavirus fears, the first support Creeping Jean had a sound that felt like The Black Keys had been injected with the spirit of the 1960s, as well as… bongo drums? Yet, it was fresh and resulted in a stellar set.
Children of the State impressed as well, their tracks peppered with a mix of romance and anarchy, a midpoint between The Blinders and Blossoms. The sporadic harmonica was a nice touch, making it quite a wide range of instruments on display from the two supports.
From the second Temples stepped on stage they embodied that psych look. Long hair, eccentric jackets and even high heeled boots. Despite the rather lacklustre opening of ‘The Howl’, the setlist was a neon draped delight, it was everything you’d hope a Temples gig to be. They were polished and adventurous with the intermittent instrumentals elevating the tracks to a state of psychedelic wonder, my hopes had been met and exceeded.
Highlights from the set included fan favourite from the new album ‘You’re Either on Something’, its contagious chorus sang with eerie elegance from James Bagshaw, and ‘Certainty’ with its choral keys and dreamy essence. You also can’t forget the band’s seminal track ‘Shelter Song’, which is still their best work to date. But the near 10 minute instrumental at the end of the set was what truly blew me away. The band meandered through a range of tempos and rhythms, truly showcasing their ability and knack for psychedelia and it left the crowd in awe.
What I did notice with Temples was that they aren’t afraid to let melody overpower vocals. They encourage it even, crafting a kaleidoscopic soundscape that’s only bolstered by the light show. It makes for a spectacle of a live show and one I’d happily go to again.
Image: Ed Webster via Flikr