Kettering, England upstarts Temples brought their ’60s psychedelic revival to the Hawthorne Theatre on Sunday night and delivered a tight set of retro-worshipping rock to a nearly packed house. The band is in the midst of a triumphant world tour on the strength of their lauded debut, Sun Structures, a release that has garnered more international praise than any other debut in quite a while.
Local act Wampire opened the show and played a fantastic set to an already nearly full house. I’d wanted to catch Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps’ project since first hearing their intriguing debut Curiosity, and the band certainly didn’t disappoint. Along with their older material, the band treated the audience to a few cuts off of their upcoming record, Bazaar, and they sounded fantastic. As wonderfully “out there” and strange as Wampire’s music can be, they certainly don’t fuck around live, playing a hell of a set that left me very excited to hear the rest of Bazaar (out October 7th on Polyvinyl).
As Thomas Edward James Walmsley and James Edward Bagshaw (how British are those names?!) and company took the stage, I couldn’t help but think to myself that if some bands wear their influences on their sleeves, then Temples have theirs covering their pants, shirts, hair, shoes, sideburns, instruments, fingernails, souls, thoughts… you get the point. The entire band looked like they’d just come out of one of the many vintage clothing stores right down the street on Hawthorne, and then stopped to get their hair done by Noel Redding on the way back to the Theatre. The Temples’ members look the way they sound: like they just stepped out of a Cream show in ’68. That’s not to say that their sound is totally copped from the past, as the band adds a certain heaviness to their interpretations that brings a bit of freshness to the whole affair. In fact, my favorite part of the show was the thunderous instrumental jam that made up the encore and made me wonder what Black Sabbath as a jam band would sound like.
The lads in Temples have some serious chops and put on quite a show. I’m usually the type of journalist who tends to scoff at something so obviously borrowing from the past, but Temples puts enough of its own spin on things to make this an intriguing act beyond the massive hype it’s received here and across the pond.
Both sets and the show overall were great, but I will say one thing: Bagshaw more than once complained that the audience wasn’t “clapping enough” for his songs, something that’s incredibly off-putting. Perhaps he didn’t get the memo that we here in Portland are quite privileged in the music department and get to see fantastic shows pretty much nightly, and yet he expected the audience to break into a joyous, Dionysian orgy upon hearing his guitar. The crowd seemed fine to me, especially considering the Hawthorne Theatre’s herding of the people drinking alcohol to the back of the room. Out of all the things Temples borrows from the past, acting like that cranky asshole Ginger Baker probably shouldn’t be one of them, just let the kick ass Rock ‘n’ Roll speak for itself. »
– Donovan Farley