Temples LIVE @ The Cockpit, Leeds 28.02.14

Gigslutz regulars may remember that I was a big fan of Temples’ debut ‘Sun Structures’ earlier this year, describing it as “one of those albums where it’s worth paying the extra to hear it on vinyl”. A statement I stand by, but for even less than the price of a big, black piece of musical plastic you can get a piece of paper that sounds like the plastic melting into your mind – by which I mean a ticket to see Temples live, and witness a sun structure being erected in all its live, shining glory. No more of these underrated space related phenomonons we’re forced to look out for every few years or so ; a Temples’ event is a spiritual moment that does not disappoint.

Looking, and sounding, like a band who played a hand in creating rock’s more experimental moments, Temples took to the stage of Leeds’ Cockpit (a definite favourite smaller venue), which was probably a defining instant for fans like myself, who had been so overwhelmed by their music that they hadn’t bothered to see what the band actually looked like. Now this is not the time or the place for a rant, but my first sighting of Temples was through the screen of an iPhone before me which was focussed on some other smart phone taking a pointless photo of the band putting their guitars on. Put the technology down people: Temples are about to show you how beautiful life sounded a few decades ago, today!

Those first hazy synths of ‘Colours To Life’ float over the bands’ already iconic wall of sound; a noise and a vision that projects from the stage through a full and excitable crowd, who are in full agreement with Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr regarding the fact that Temples are one the best new bands right now. Despite the fact that singles ‘Keep Me In The Dark’ and ‘Shelter Song’ get the biggest cheers, the whole 10-song set (including ‘Colours To Life’s b-side ‘Ankh’) gets undivided attention, which is obviously the only desired effect from a hypnotising source. The audience respond to the handclap intro of ‘A Question Isn’t Answered’ without command, while ‘Move With The Seasons’ builds from an acoustic intro into a thumping , harmonic ball of confusion, sounding even deeper than on the LP.

While initially reluctant to interact with the crowd, frontman (and ‘Sun Structures’ producer) James Edward Bagshaw quickly get to grips with the “showmanship-shit” – (C) Alex Turner – and soon becomes comfortable enough to request more applause, while bass player Thomas Edison Warmsley (who co-wrote the LP with Bagshaw) gives a couple of intros himself. Joining them at the front of the stage is Adam Smith; an enigma of a performer, switching from keyboards to guitar, lending backing vocals to many tracks yet never using his microphone to talk. And making up the four piece: Sam Toms (who, like most drummers, you imagine is even less of a talker) providing the Ringo-esque beats, and playing a huge role in the fact these songs were designed – and successfully so – to make an audience move.

An extended version of recent single ‘Mesmerize’ provides the encore, which appears to go on forever and would be welcome to continue for longer. Joyful bursts that sound like rays within reach now that the structure is at its peak provide a moment that will be one to remember at an assumed John Peel Tent slot at Glastonbury. Although, in my opinion, it would sound better in an open stage, beneath the sun and its structures, or while moving with whatever seasons are thrown our way… Even from the golden throne that is the longdrops on a hot day, with an iPad blocking your view; these songs cannot provide anything other than euphoric, mesmerizing pleasure.

Dan Bull

Dan Bull

Dan Bull

Reviews Editor
London. Likes: Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, Prince Charles Cinema, Duran Duran Dislikes: Soreen, All-hits setlists, "I liked them before everyone else..."