Temples @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire 8/3/14

A bottle of concentrated 1960s is poured into a room and up spring eager adolescents waiting to be taken on a trip. Support acts come and go without causing much more disturbance than a slight breeze to sway the audience; although Childhood play very respectably. Then James Bagshaw and co. amble onstage and the indie class of ’14 go wild.

I arrived, not as one of the preachers, but as one waiting to be converted. No doubt, their singles are catchy and fresh: summery odes to wordplay and metaphor. But I jumped at the chance to see them live because it seemed to me that I was missing the something that would provide a spark for rabid praise.

It seems I have found it. With Temples the live element – the act of enjoying exactly the same musical moment en masse – creates an atmosphere which fits perfectly with the hippy undertones their songs convey. Their music is a flowing river of psychedelia poured into your ears and leaving traces of glitter and dazzle intertwined with the neurones of your brain. In other words you cannot forget that sultry voice, nor do you want those jangly melodies to ever end, each one dripping into the next but with a constant sense of pace and change.

The set starts with a euphoric ‘Colours To Life’, and as the chant of ‘love, lust, spaces in time bringing colours to life’ is echoed from the boogying bodies it really does feel like one of those leave all your troubles outside moments; you don’t have to be high to enjoy the idea of our own little shared moment. With ‘Sun Structures’, which follows next, the punters sing instead to the notes of the inescapably epic riff and join in with the ‘ahhs’ which could, in theory, belong to any old anthem but in this case make us feel special and one, which is, of course, the definition of an anthem.

The set list was a mere nine songs before the huge – but single-songed – encore of ‘Mesmerise’ blew up in our faces, with Bagshaw throwing marvellous shapes to accompany. I’m thankful that they kept their reappearance to the bare minimum; encores are a farce by nature and only the stadium greats should be permitted to indulge us in any more than what is required by concert law. Temples will be able to work off the back of this record for at least a year; I can only hope that with the next one they bring something new to the table. Having exposed their raw talent it is now time to hone their craft and present us with a beauty.


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