With psych rockers Temples riding back into town Getintothis’ Kevin Barrett was on hand to catch the rising stars with some top support bands.
It’s not every gig you’ll find a genuine excitement throughout a crowd to see each of the bands playing across the one bill.
Yet we, and quite a number of others, have made our way down to the front nice and early in the recently spruced up, and rather sleeker looking Zanzibar to catch an enticing triple header of acts, all of who share very similar rock roots, yet each completely different in their own stylistic intricacies and purpose.
It’s been quite the week for Liverpool based promotions EVOL, fresh from hosting electronic titans Ladytron, followed with the announcement of Jarvis Cocker’s new project JARV IS heading back to the city to play at the Invisible Wind Factory, tonight’s exciting offerings had potential to fly in under the radar.
We last caught Kettering quartet Temples in somewhat unconventional circumstances, an in-store album signing just around the corner from here at Phase One on a muggy Monday midday was delightfully odd to say the least.
Tonight the four-piece are back, touring their latest, and third highly acclaimed LP Hot Motion.
— Jake Marley (@JMarleyWrites) March 6, 2020
But first to take the stage we are greeted with Liverpool’s own Little Triggers, a recent reshuffle in the group has seen the foursome reduced to two.
And with this being the first time we’ve managed to catch them live following the transition we were intrigued to see how their typically weighty sound would transmit through the duo of vocalist and guitarist Tom Hamilton and drummer Jay Radcliffe.
From the get-go any premonitions or milder exceptions where quickly dispelled, with the number of guitar amps almost doubling the number of band members they certainly brought the noise to an already dense crowd.
There’s no apologies in Little Triggers’ persona, their modern take on conventional classic rock holds no grudges. Hamilton is a whirlwind of energy on stage, a set filled with mightily heavy riffs and plenty of stage kicks, the duo from Dingle certainly set the tone in imperious fashion for the rest of the evening.
Next up are another Liverpool based outfit The Heavy North. Formed around 18 months ago this is a band who are very much on the up. Having already released a handful of tracks, the five-piece have been honing their sound, refining, and building a very healthy following with each outing along their path.
Tracks such as As Long as You’re Here with Me provide a wonderful blend of soulfully infused blues rock, whilst experimenting and adding elements of funk into that mix. The bass heavy Don’t You Wait for Me is another crowd pleaser. As tight as the playing is, it’s frontman Kenny Stuart’s gravel filled vocals which give an alluring added dimension that really allow the band push the boundaries in some of the tracks.
Already one of the busiest live bands on the local circuit over the past 12 months, and with an avid and rapidly growing fanbase no doubt we will be seeing a lot more of this The Heavy North in time to come.
Of course @TemplesOfficial deliver once again.
What a band. Could watch them every night of the week. Class. pic.twitter.com/vkU7yorkDD
— Greg (@BushyOne) March 6, 2020
Finally it’s time for tonight’s headliners Temples to quite unassumingly take centre stage.
Each member has the look of a bygone era’s seasoned rock star, golden microphones to boot, and heads of hair every man in this room is insanely jealous of, it is easy for them to command an instant attraction from this packed out venue before even a note is played.
The psych-rockers get things away with The Howl from the latest album, before mixing with a tracks from each of the previous two releases in Certainty and A Question is Answered.
The desert soul inspired Colours of Life, and the funky loops of album title track Hot Motion are very well received, in fact it’d be hard to pick a loser in any the songs on the setlist. This is a band who can certainly play together, the set is electric.
Shelter Song has everyone in dance, followed by a short encore with an extended cosmic instrumental version of Mesmerise to round off affairs.
As the consistency in the quality flourished, there’s a nagging question as to why this band, after three really good albums, and a live delivery to match anyone are still playing venues with a capacity of around 300.
Now don’t get me wrong here. This packed out venue on Seel Street loved every minute of this performance, and rightly so.
But, it without-doubt begs some questions as to why Temples are not already cosying up with some of the larger fonted names on this years festival posters.
Is their sound original? No. Is this a bad thing? Again No.
Their sound is an evident evolution of influence from some of the great early psych bands such as Grateful Dead, The Doors & The Pretty Things. And it’ll also be easy to draw on latterly comparisons with the likes of Tame Impala or King Gizzard.
Yet what Temples offer is a select corner of the market that they have made their pitch and niched.
No matter what the future may hold for Temples, and we predict a very bright one, this is a performance that will live long in the memory of everyone lucky enough to get down to this iconic venue tonight.
Images by Getintothis’ Kevin Barrett