Confident that the performance I was about to experience would be satisfying, I shimmied my way into the under-21 section of The Crocodile this past Tuesday, October 18, with nothing on my face but anticipation for the psych-rock trip-tacular English group Temples. Psychedelic rock is no longer a played-out relic of the 1960s, but rather a resurging genre that many college-aged kids are flocking to, and Temples are absolutely catering to their audience.
Although they are modern in their production, songwriting, and performance, there is certainly a bit of reminiscence and celebration of that 60s background that seems to influence this group so much. The four band members walked out onto the stage and looked like they would have fit in a documentary about English counter-culture of that time. They sported velvet shirts, tight leather/denim pants, and haircuts that spanned thicker than their skinny bodies.
One of the first songs they played that stood out to me was their track, “Colours To Life.” The lead singer/guitarist James Bagshaw donned a twelve-stringed guitar, which allowed the chords and riffs to ring out beautifully over the swirling synthesizers and McCartney-esque bass lines, which bounced melodically underneath the higher end of the musical spectrum they created. The vocals were heavy on the reverb, and mixed in well with the vibrant basis the instruments put down.
Temples did well to nail the tracks from their album Sun Structures, which served as the most high-energy crowd pleasers. “Mesmerise” was one of my favorites that they played. The melody of the chorus was…well…mesmerizing. The words flowed so well into each other, as the notes slid up and down the scale seamlessly. The synth was able to bump itself around the mix with triumphant vitality. The tightness of it all was astounding.
When the group moved into their new material, I was less impressed. Their single “Certainty” is a catchy song, but it’s easy to tell that they’re moving in a more tech-heavy direction, and I don’t want the melody and chords to be drowned out by synthesizer and production. For their songs that they introduced as “new,” I felt this pattern was pretty prevalent.
Despite my criticism, they had me dancing throughout their entire set; tech-heavy or guitar-heavy or bass-heavy, it was all groovy. Their concert was the psychedelic journey through colorful clouds and jellyfish and kaleidoscopic imaginative euphoria that I had been anticipating.
The song they closed the evening out with was “Shelter Song,” which destroyed the room. It’s by far my favorite Temples single, probably because it sounds so much like a Beatles riff. The way the classically twangy guitar riff opens the song reminds me specifically of George Harrison’s guitar on “I Feel Fine.” Anything that can make me think of the Beatles while still being completely original is alright in my book.
Temples knows how to put on a concert without being flashy about it. They didn’t speak much in between songs, except to give thanks for the applause. It’s this humility during performance that allows me to enjoy the music even more so.
My verdict is that they killed it. I’m happy to have gotten to see their show, and I’m excited to hear what comes next from these young psych-rockers.
JASON McCUE | Wazoo | Promotions Director