After witnessing Temples career flourish since the release of their debut album ‘Sun Structures’ in 2014, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher to find yourself two years later, in an intimate live-room at The Camden Assembly (known to most as Barfly) with a £6 ticket in hand. With Album no. 2’s anticipated release on the horizon this wasn’t going to be like any other Temples gig – without support band and with only a DJ playing a mind-bending mix of vintage and nouveau psychedelia. Squint your eyes and you could have gone back 4 years in time, to when they were just like any unsigned band, trying to make their name known to Londoners across the capital’s live music circuit. A showcase, if you like.
With bright blue strobe lights suddenly striking us on each side of the room and to a roaring welcome from the audience, Temples took to the stage. With a flashing lightshow they moved the audience in to their opening track ‘Colours of Life’, appearing only as four flashing shadows across the stage. James Bagshaw’s voice still has that harmonious clarity which fills the room beautifully whilst rhythm section Walmsley/Toms delivers bass lines and drum beats that pound through every body in the room.
Still hidden in shadows, the band carries on into their latest single ‘Certainty’. The single, which was only released to the public the day before, is already known by most people in the audience who eagerly sing along to the chorus and jingle from Bagshaw’s guitar and Smith’s keyboard. The song mixes Temples original neospychedelic pop sound with elements of progressive rock, a la Yes and early Genesis, mixed with T-Rex style glam. At times Bagshaw’s voice almost drowns in vocal effects to the point where it almost sounds auto-tuned, but apart from that it’s a stunning piece of songwriting and musicianship. This is a tune that will continue to ring in your ears for a long time after the show is over.
With nothing new to show for their live show as such, Temples play through every song in their repertoire with effortless perfection. As they finish their set by sending the audience into an extended trance of their song ‘Mesmerise’ and their early hit single ‘Shelter Song’, the room has turned into a multi-coloured frenzy with the crowd jumping up and down, screaming at the band “to take [them] away to the Twilight Zone”. To an intense cry from the crowd, Temples walks off stage, only to return a few moments later to a handclapping choir leading them into their encore number ‘A Question Isn’t Answered’. A crowd surfer appears and Temples ends the night with an immense instrumental climax.
This is an outstanding set and it’s difficult to work out whether it’s the live room at The Camden Assembly that suits Temples reverberation so perfectly or if their relentless years of touring have paid off. Nevertheless, Temples has once again proven their timelessness as a band in today’s live music industry. This has been an intimate evening for fans and music lovers, simply there to enjoy good music, effortlessly and to perfection.
‘Certainty’ is available online via Heavenly Recordings
This Temples article was written by Jennifer Ahlqvist, a GIGsoup contributor