Gig Review by Daron Billings / Gig Photography by Wayne Fox

Temples

Whoooooooah…hey man, what’s happening? Going to see Temples at The Institute? Cosmic…faaaaar out dude. Okay, enough of the trippy 60s lingo (for now at least, I’m still having flashbacks from this show so frankly anything could happen in the next few paragraphs) but tonight was another of those time travelling gigs that made you question which decade you were living in.

Dark Bells

First up to mess with your minds, Dark Bells, an Aussie trio with a neat line in quiet/loud/quiet psych-gaze. There ain’t enough female fronted rock acts in the world, a situation that becomes increasingly difficult to comprehend when you hear/see the Bells’ lead singer Teneil in action. Musically things start off on an almost acid folk tinged vibe with a song that may possibly be called Do You Remember? (oh for the day when bands tell you the song titles…makes life a whole lot easier) before spinning off into more of a shoegazey universe. Vocally Teneil veers between slightly trippy space cadet and full on siren whilst the band’s bassist spins out some gloriously funked up basslines. At times it’s a bewitching mix, the sort of sound that makes you want to rip off your top and do that weird hand dance thing that people seemed to spend most of the 60s doing. New single In Head (out April 24th on RIP Records) capped off a powerful set of tunes in fine style. Ding dong.

Childhood

‘Stoned’ Roses anyone? There’s certainly a hint of Madchester’s finest in Childhood’s sound, especially in 2013 single Solemn Skies…in fact more than one You Tube comment has recently wistfully recalled the late 80s early 90s scene into which this lot could slot. Actually they’re a lot less chilled out live than they often appear on ‘record’ or whatever you crazy kids listen to music on these days. Whilst the jingle jangly indie guitars are in place lead singer Leo is happily far more animated this evening, coming dangerously close to rocking out in fact. Most of it’s all very good in a head nodding way but you get the sense that there’s a lot more to come from them, as hinted at by the rather splendid wig out jam at the end of the set…yes wig out jam…it’s stored right next to the honey in Aldi.

Temples

Well and truly back to the 60s for tonight’s headliners, Temples, who seem to have a particularly uncanny knack for penning the kind of tunes that our dads/granddads/great granddads (delete according to your age) might well have turned on, tuned in and dropped out to. Hmmm…maybe they sold their souls to Syd Barrett? Via a ouija board obviously. The really clever bit though is that pretty much every tune is shot through with a cunning pop sensibility, catchy hooks and riffs pour off this lot like water off a ducks back, albeit a duck tripping off its beak. I’m guessing lead singer James Edward Bagshaw honed that particular skill during his time with indie chart toppers Sukie back in the day.

Temples

Wherever it’s come from it’s freaking brilliant. Like the first puff on a spliff tonight’s opening number Colours To Life draws you into its warm embrace and for the next hour or so you’re on a different planet. Looking more than a little like Marc Bolan (even down to the glitter round the eyes) Bagshaw’s dreamy vocal is the soft caramel heart around which the band wraps rich, dark psych. There’s other stuff going on though. Sun Structures hits a bit of a Krautrock/proggy vibe, recent B Side Ankh has a distinctly glam feel to it and Move With The Seasons wanders into Pink Floyd territory.

Temples

Unsurprisingly given all these influences there was a decent age span here tonight…more than one ‘dad and son’ combo uniting uneasily over their collective love for this band. At times Bagshaw seems genuinely overwhelmed by how far they’ve got in little over a year commenting that “it’s amazing to be playing to so many people” (cue huge whoops from the fathers and sons). He shouldn’t be surprised though, each and every single they’ve released so far has been naggingly addictive with the aforementioned Colours To Life and the flower powered Keep In The Dark both going down a storm tonight. I’d not heard the proto metal (this really came across in tonight’s version) of Sand Dance before but it perhaps hints at a heavier possible direction for the band in the future. Who knows? Who cares when you’ve got something as fabulous as set closer Shelter Song to enjoy. Kicking off with Beatles-ish guitars it’s as gloriously 60s as miniskirts, lava lamps and flower power. Breaking with his rather deadpan expression I couldn’t help notice Baghshaw allowing himself a little grin to keyboardist Adam. It was well deserved judging by the sea of bobbing heads, hairy and…er…not so hairy, in the heart of the crowd.

Temples

Of course one song was missing from the set so far and perhaps they really had left the best for the encore. In a ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ way Mesmerise extended way beyond its usual three minutes or so, tripping off to a different place altogether for a full five minutes or so. I reckon some of the audience could’ve watched it all night. Temples…truly a group worth worshipping.

Temples

One Response to “Temples + Childhood + Dark Bells @ The Institute, Birmingham, UK – 4 March 2014”

  1. Gig Reviews | Gig Photography | Interviews | Competitions from Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » Chvrches + SOAK @ The Institute, Birmingham, UK – 10 March 2014 Says:

    […] me who probably spent his pocket money on 7inch copies of Love Action from Woolies. Again as with Temples’ gig last week this harking back business has clearly won them fans from several different generations so tonight […]

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