The Corner, 10 May
Challenging the excavation works outside the Corner for loud, earth shattering impact, Temples have captured the hearts and memories of a broad age-range of tousle-haired rock fans, most of who respond warmly to the authentic garage rock of The Frowning Clouds. This weeks’ featured band on Spicks and Specks are no mere mimics, the triple guitar drives short sharp blasts of addictive rock. The time-proven sound renders the songs almost interchangeable, but you can imagine the band playing with identical energy in 30 years and stilling winning new fans.
Like or loathe Deep Sea Arcade the energy exuded by lead singer Nic McKenzie is a welcome change from the typically instrument-bound vocalist of most rock bands. While his pitch wanders as much as his feet, the songs are tight bursts of Anglo rock that benefit hugely from McKenzie's strutting, mic twirling and swagger, performing like he's trying to impress an army of NME readers. While it's not everyone's bag, confidence goes a long way. Steam and the closer Girls are stand outs from a set that raises the bar for our international guests.
Packed behind the photographer-lined barrier, the crowd greets the parting curtains with a chorus of shrill calls. “Hey, how's it going?” mumbles Temples’ big-haired singer and sparkly guitar slinger James Edward Bagshaw. Wearing a similarly sparkly top and skinny jeans, Basgshaw eases into the microphone, bending his knee and raising his heels to softly sing in a voice drenched in reverb. The quartet’s loud - but never angry - opiate rock is essentially glam excised of sex and charisma.
Boasting one of the best sounding shows this venue has seen, Temples’ power is partly due to their careful control of effects and textures. The glazed distortion of the guitar, the trebly crunching bass and driving drums form a sound that moves like a marshmallow tank. The whole band look like they should be mooching around forests with Bran in Game of Thrones, and this sound and style merge to overshadow the songs themselves.
From a set of loaded with unthreatening fury and unmemorable melodies, obscure B-side Ankh is an unexpected highlight. The keening Keep in the Dark is typical of their biggest strength (the glistening glam stomp), and biggest weakness (a tendency to maintain and repeat instead of elevate).
Closing their set with Sand Dance, the raucous crowd draw the band back from behind a door signed “Dressing Room For Temples Only”. Minutes later, accompanied by a cloud of potent pot smoke, the band emerges for an encore that sees them throw out the rulebook to stunning effect. Mesmerise is a ten-minute trip into Spacemen 3 / Krautrock territory is hopefully a sign of things to come, before the exuberant Shelter Song closes a night of carefully curated, and wildly received, rock and roll.