Temples @ Thekla, Bristol, 23/10/2013

templesI'm a sucker for a bit of 1960s psychedelic pop, so it's always nice when a band like Temples come along and supply a pure clean hit of the stuff that's so hard to score in this modern era. Even better, Temples have their own take on this gratifying recipe. The anticipation of indulgence makes this evening all the more exciting.

I'm not quite sure what the collective noun for haircuts is, but there's a catalogue of classic barnets here tonight, and it's quite something to behold! You've got a particularly impressive 'Joey Ramone', courtesy of kraut-punk glamsters Telegram, the support band, who provide a seriously noteworthy racket for starters. You also have, of course, a reasonable helping of the 'classic mod' style around the place, mixed in with some side-dishes of 'Gallagher' hairdos too - potentially due to Noel Gallagher recently calling Temples “the best new band in the world”. There's 'Johnny Borrell', and 'Vince Noir' a plenty, scattered about like nibbles, and the main course, the regal 'Marc Bolan' to come...

Kettering lovelies, Temples, are warmly welcomed to the stage. Frontman and guitarist James Bagshaw is charming and courteous in demeanour; immaculately turned out in fake fur and skinny jeans, with a touch of the Syd Barrett look, as well as Bolan. The instruments are as endearing as the people playing them; retro organ, silver sparkly drum kit, a feast to the eyes! In fact, the only thing that one feels could enhance the aesthetic here, would be some late 60s, Pink Floyd-esque, psychedelic visuals, which, by all accounts their shows do occasionally contain, but not tonight. So I'm forced to soldier on regardless with what is on offer. I know, I'm very brave...

 What is on offer here, I'm extremely pleased to say, and what really matters, is the music. The fact is Temples have both great songs and a great sound. It's easy to see why Heavenly signed this band as they glide graciously through their set, playing the sumptuous singles and new songs alike. The audience is given a privileged preview of material from the soon to be released debut album, which is sure to establish the band further.

It's a perfectly arranged live set, and considering the band hasn't released an album yet, the impact on and engagement with the crowd is pretty incredible. The variety and age range in the crowd also signifies the substance of the music. It's not just young hipsters; the word has gathered weight and pace. When you've got the likes of Johnny Marr championing them as well, it's certainly not going to harm their popularity.

Stunning b-side “Prisms”, with its haunting folk melody, and Ronettes drum chorus is played early on in the set and goes down a storm. Gorgeously spectacular second single “Colours to Life” swiftly follows, swamped in the kaleidoscopic melodies the title suggests, also with an irresistibly uplifting chorus reminiscent of The Byrds. New tracks like “Sand Dance” are strong and also well received. The set is chock-a-block with everything exceedingly delectable from Beatles-y guitar licks, to beautiful vocals; flawless harmonies; tambourines and wig outs. All of it coming together to create Temples' own delightful sound. The performance assures us that the debut album is not going to disappoint. Finishing with the more glam-centric “Keep in the Dark”, and finally on the epic “Shelter Song”. Looking around at everyone's faces, it's with confidence that I can say: No niggles or gripes on campus. Temples; go forth and reign.


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