Gig Review by Alannah Williams and Gig Photography by John Bentley

Temples

Tonight at King’s Heath’s Hare and Hounds, we’re treated to the music of two up-and-coming, but contrasting, bands, Temples and Charlie Boyer and The Voyeurs. Both draw various musical and fashion influences from past eras, including the psychedelic 1960s and the glam and new wave music of the 1970s.

The Hare and Hounds has been a celebrated and, locals might even say, legendary live music venue over the past three decades, including in its claim to fame, hosting UB40’s first ever gig way back in 1979. Transport yourself, around that time, to New York City and the genuinely legendary venue of CBGB’s where you will find a young’ish Tom Verlaine, who along with his band Television, had just a year previous released ‘Adventure’, the great-but-not-near-as-perfect-record relative to its 1977 predecessor, ‘Marquee Moon’, the definitive album of hard-edged 1970’s New York guitar music.

Charlie Boyer & the Voyeurs

…..and then we’re back in June 2013 at the Hare and Hounds, where the support this evening comes from latest NME favourites, Charlie Boyer and The Voyeurs, who have previously self-proclaimed their desire to create “sexy, glamorous rock’n’roll”. This looks particularly evident tonight within the image conscious (and personality light?) section of the band. Smile lads, it won’t make you any less pretty.

Charlie Boyer & the Voyeurs

Boyer’s voice is evocative of Tom Verlaine, a damn good impression actually – his clearest influence to anyone familiar with that period in music. However, when you’ve listened to them, let’s say six or seven times, whilst he might sound like the lead singer of Television, as a five-piece the Voyeurs produce a convincing enough debut to start to establish their own identity, with ‘I Watch You’ being the high point of Clarietta, their debut album from Heavenly records. The Voyeurs are lacking in fine and impressive guitar solos, but instead opt for what can only be described as loud and rambunctious, but strangely catchy, tracks more reflective of the Ramones.

Sadly, the rare elements of subtlety offered by the Voyeurs get lost in the ‘undercooked’ vocals in the early part of the set and the occasional keyboards, that offer so much impact at key points, just aren’t there.

Temples

Then enter on stage, Temples, a band whose touchstone is nearly a decade earlier in history compared to the Voyeurs. This Midland glam quartet are playing their role revitalising a new psychedelic scene under the pretentious (not their fault) sobriquet of neo-psych. Well, whatever they’re doing, some real nostalgic, dreamy and marvellous vibes are being concocted.

Temples was originally formed as a duo by James Bagshaw (vocals, guitar) and Tom Warmsley (bass) as a recording project over the summer. After posting some videos on YouTube, and deciding to form a band, one of their first songs, ‘Shelter Song’ received widespread acclaim amongst today’s social-media generation and their newer songs continue to follow suit.

Temples

Bagshaw’s image and style, a fusion of Mark Bolan and Jim Morrison, with impressive curls, dazzling jumpers and glittered eyes, is paralleled with similar mixed musical influences, in which the keyboard tunefulness of the Doors compete equally with the dreamy guitars of The Byrds. Continuing the impression fest, all of the band look the part, with the younger audience members going retro cool having raided the fancy dress shop or their (grand?) parents’ wardrobes for the flares and associated ‘gear’.

After opening the set with the singalong, Sun Structures, the band run through its evolving bank of songs, including the trippy new release, Colours to Life, and the spaced out Prisms, with its swirling organ. Whilst the new material suggests the band may have an anthem somewhere deep inside, the simplicity and repetitious nature of Keep in the Dark best evokes the T Rex memories.

Temples

As the set closes with the inevitable Shelter, a number amongst the ‘sold out’ floor may be channeling the psychedelia, in mind if not in body, but there is something missing from an audience which is unusually flat, revelling in the main with understated head bobbing and the occasional ‘whoop’. This may be a manifestation of an audience attuned to two ends of a decade that, in my opinion, simply don’t mix.

Temples

Catching Temples recently at the Lexington, Noel Gallagher reportedly declared “I love them”, adding sagely, “it’s not really music that should be played in a pub”. It’s a fair comment; surely a band with such surreal and trippy music may be destined to play elsewhere (like on an “empty death star” according to the infamous Manc). Perhaps then, the quintessential neo-psych gig could take place.

In their respective time zones, both of tonight’s bands bring their own unique dimension and the horizon can’t be far away now for either of them. Yet whilst they may have some great tunes, I doubt that in another 40 years time, during the ‘third coming’ in psychedelic music, whether Temples will be being referenced as influencing a generation. Only time will tell.

Follow Temples on Facebook and Twitter / Follow Charlie Boyer and The Voyeurs on Facebook and Twitter

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