A warm March Evening was the perfect precursor in Brixton this Thursday, to a mystical show from Temples as they came to town to play at the beautiful former picture house, Electric Brixton.
In the early 80’s, the venue- known as The Fridge- was a big player in the London music scene and was responsible for legendary club nights that later gave rise to the birth of the New Romantics. Watching Temples here in the 2010’s, you would easily be forgiven for believing you had been transported back to 80s and even the earlier years of the 70’s, if it wasn’t for the sea of smartphones that are now a firm part of the package at gigs these days.
The atmospheric former home of flicks and club nights filled out in no time, the crowd having been warmed in heart, soul and lug-hole by the eccentric William Yates, frontman of the evening’s support: Creatures. Alongside Yates, an ensemble of guys who themselves have a big presence on stage, clad in 70’s attire and stand firm as the steady presence to Yates’s enticing jaunting about the stage.
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Following Creatures’ set, the venue now was now buzzing both in anticipation for the main attraction, and from the squeeze of what was a sold-out show.
Temples’ charming friend who was putting a shift in on their merchandise stand on the night was there to sell “Mesmerise” T-Shirts from a tour of old, as well as a collection of shiny new Temples relics. This is exactly what they band themselves brought to the stage: the familiar old friends of 2014’s brilliant debut ‘Sun Structures’ and this year’s powerful ‘Volcano’ that together, mesmerised all.
Stood before beaming, geometric patterns of light, lead singer James Bagshaw’s Marc Bolan-esque barnet almost has a stage presence of its own. However, this is nothing more than a pleasant aesthetical bonus to a band who stand more than in their own right, musically. Harking back to late 60’s/ early 70’s psychedelia, Temples inject their sound with a modern coolness which oozes a quietly irresistible arrogance. These guys know they hit the right mix of ingredients when they pulled ‘Volcano’ out of the oven.
Every song blared out of Electric’s speakers in an immensely impressive, polished fashion- all with a space-age trim. ‘Certainty’ boomed to appreciative head bobbing and swaying from the crowd and a girl next to me who turned, smiling, to her friend and beamed “Shit, they’re cool!”, to which her friend simply danced on in agreement, for fear of breaking out of the trance that Temples had caught her in.
‘All Join In’ will surely become one of Temples’ best known and most loved tunes. Fantastic marching drums that trudge on as fluid lyrics trickle over, all before we’re eased in to a wonderfully floaty chorus. With ‘Roman God-Like Man’ and ‘Stranger or Be Forgotten’, the crowd were witness to the new direction this band have taken- a larger sound with more anthemic intentions.
This was a brilliant gig from a group whom you cannot help but feel know that they are edge of something big. They are kicking into gear at the perfect time, ahead of a big summer of festival-filled diaries. ‘Volcano’ will bring them to a larger audience and bigger crowds than what was present here tonight, but you can be sure that will be down to those in attendance being more than excited about what they have seen and heard.
Don’t go to see Temples, expectant of a rowdy affair. Instead, anticipate getting completely lost in their all-encompassing sound. No shiners to wake up with in the morning here, just the satisfaction in feeling you’ve had one long extended dream.