Temples took their audience on what felt like a nostalgic psychedelic trip back to the 60s last night (15th November) in the music metropolis which is, of course, Camden.
Their performance also marked a one year anniversary since they played the Barfly in Camden, and so with a year of grafting and touring with Kasabian, The Vaccines and Mystery Jets, the band managed to propel themselves onto the stage of the Electric Ballroom which has been an invaluable stepping stone for so many bands.
Temples have also been put on a pedestal by established artists such as Noel Gallagher, who criticised Radio 1 for ignoring Temples, as he claimed “There’s great records coming out this year you’re not going to hear on the radio. Temples, Jagwar Ma. Great stuff, but it’s on a lower level. It’s not on the battle ground. You have to be in that world to hear it” However, fortunately there are music lovers like myself, amongst many others, who live and breathe in that world, and yearn for others to discover the abyss of the music world beyond the myopic scope of Radio 1. Whilst Temples are still not making persistent appearances on the mainstream radio, the fact that established and revered songwriters such as Noel Gallagher who is infamously known to be utterly querulous, should persuade you to divert your attention to the four boys from Northamptonshire who are the cogs in the psychedelic rock revival machine.
…Many bands have embarked upon the post-modern psychedelic revival bandwagon…
Temples walked onto the stage in front of a lit up backdrop of the mesmeric Eye of Ra, which set the scene for what would be a trippy experience of revived psychedelic rock. The band began their set with The Golden Throne, which, judging by the audience’s zealous response, will appear on their debut album which currently has no set release date. The boys in the band then delved into more familiar singles such as Colours To Life and Ankh which resembled Tame Impala, if only Tame Impala paid more attention to melody. Many bands have embarked upon the post-modern psychedelic revival bandwagon, however Temples are demonstrably different from bands such as MGMT and Tame Impala as they incorporate 60s-esque riffs, which collide with intricate melodies and hypnotic harmonious vocals and there are even undertones of Bowie’s influence.
The band continued to try out new material and unleashed Sun Dance and Test of Time, which sounded like a product of the Magical Mystery Tour, and certainly something that John Lennon would have given his authoritative appraisal to. The audience looked as if they were taking part in some ritual when the band played Ankh and James Bagshaw (lead vocalist/guitarist) ordered the crowd to “put your hands up in the air for this one” to which the crowd willingly abided. For the duration of their 50-minute set it felt as if you were stuck in some sort of time portal that teleported you back to the 60s, which serves to emphasise how timeless the music created during that innovative time really is.
…perhaps a Mercury Prize is on the horizon…
When we live in an age which embraces pre-recorded backing tracks, appearance over raw talent, and a music culture that is less dependent on that toilsome but potent art of song writing, it is refreshing to see bands like Temples capturing the public’s attention and getting deserved recognition from the likes of Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr. Whilst their commercial success is still modest, their album and their persistent touring will change that, and perhaps a Mercury Prize is on the horizon for Temples if their singles are a reliable projection of what to expect on their debut album.
The highlight of the night was undoubtedly during the encore when Temples played Shelter Song which the crowd knew every word to. Not a chord was played out of tune, and their Beatles-esque vocals permeated through the 1930 walls of the Electric Ballroom. James Bagshaw looked completely overwhelmed by the elated response from the audience, and showed his gratification by ending their set and stating “I want to thank every single one of you” and looked towards his band in complete bewilderment. They seemed completely humbled by the response, and it was all the more endearing.