The Social, London | September 4th
It was clear from the sheer volume of hype at The Social, a wonderfully furnished but awkwardly shaped venue off Oxford Street, that everyone was expecting Temples to be amazing.
Representatives from every record label on the planet were packed into the tiny room as a roadie unhurriedly began tuning a rack of beautiful guitars. There was an air of genuine excitement as Love, The 13th Floor Elevators and pretty much the rest of Nuggets was blasted out from the DJ booth, whilst trippy stock footage was cast against the adjoining wall. The scene was well and truly set.
Temples took the stage after much suspense, and promptly burst into a phenomenally tight and note perfect performance of The Golden Throne. Despite it being only their second gig to date, they possessed the swagger of a band that knows their set inside out, throwing improvised guitar solos about and jamming freely and without hesitation. It was admirable to see such refined musicianship in action, and with his preened Mars Volta haircut and skin-tight red glitter top, the band’s frontman proved a compelling focal point.
As the performance went on, however, their use of a backing track gradually became evident. While the layers of strings and harps are entirely essential to the gorgeous 60s sound of the band, it lacked the magic of being truly ‘live’. Three members simply isn’t enough to achieve such a momentous sound – it will be great to see them with a full band down the line, perhaps something in the mould of the Brian Jones Jonestown Massacre.
All the stops were pulled out for the show’s finale, wheeling out a stunning 12-string guitar to launch Shelter Song sky high, before taking an unfazed exit to a background of hazey feedback. It’s early days, but it seems a certainty that these boys are set to be huge. Keep your eyes peeled.
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Words: James Balmont