Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Temples – Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough 24/04/13

30 April 2013, 16:05 | Written by Emma Smith

Sometimes sparks can fly in the most improbable of places. Tonight, Middlesbrough’s Westgarth Social Club, the not-so-secret gem in the town’s live circuit, is the unlikely host for two of the most in-demand bands of the moment, creating a little pocket of excitement on a drab Wednesday night. Small town inactivity paired with fingers being firmly on the right pulse means the room is packed out while a cautious but palpable anticipation hangs in the air.

Peak District blues punk duo- surely the least feasible start to a sentence ever – Drenge are first to prove their mettle, and they almost manage it. Making up in enthusiasm and ridiculously excellent names – Rory Loveless – what they, in fairness, lack in true originality, the young pups match no frills riffs with fresh faced commitment to sweet, if slightly underwhelming effect. A polite teen rebellion via The Black Keys which doesn’t have to tidy its room and can create a racket when it bloody well wants.

Temples, however, are the real reason for the swiftly rising temperatures round here, not least because of some particularly obscenely attractive band members. But since we’re here to talk about the much more disappointingly proper business of music and not shallow aesthetic gratification, we’d better get back to the task in hand. The psychadelia revivalists from Kettering have certainly been causing a stir of late, validated by the likes of Johnny Marr, Noel Gallagher and recent gig buddies, Suede. Racking up quite the roster of indie heavyweights can’t hurt a band in its burgeoning stages and they’re quietly keen- almost too quiet- to show why.

Opener ‘The Golden Throne’ is organ heavy and hook laden while ‘Keep in the Dark’ is a bluesy, stomping number which rolls into a swooning, romantic chorus. Singer, James Bagshaw, holds on to a knowing remoteness throughout, and fosters a mysterious allure, probably by virtue of knowing the value in shutting up. The band go on to play ‘Prisms’ which is a paisley printed daydream while their debut single, ‘Shelter Song’ is pleasingly trippy and an obvious standout track. The songs are hypnotic and unconcerned with urgency, softly seductive and touching on hidden depths.

Faithful in their intentions, the set speaks of a band with understated confidence and ability who know exactly the context they want to fit in and the importance of a cohesive vision. While it’s fuzzily nostalgic and experimental, they clearly want to invoke blotter paper mind-bends and wildly dilated pupils but they might just be too clean around the edges and are probably more of a friendly magic eye picture for now. It may simply be shy inexperience but their cool detachment and reserved delivery leaves the atmosphere lacking somewhat, though they manage to keep the attention of the crowd.

Entering the post-MGMT music scene at a time when the likes of Tame Impala are causing real waves, this is far more grounded stuff but it’s no less valid. Judging by tonight’s performance, Temples are a really good band with the potential to be really great. Not quite a trip, but they well could be.

Photograph taken by Sebastien Dehesdin at The Lexington, 29/04/30. See Full Gallery here.

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