Temples: London – live review

The Lexington, London
April 29th 2013

LTW’s Keith Goldhanger checks out the neo-psych sounds of Temples when they bring themselves down from the Midland’s to play in London.

If my memory serves me right, (and it usually doesn’t, so bear with me for a minute and forgive me if I’m talking bollocks) I’m sure there was an episode in ‘Thunderbirds’ a long time ago where the Tracy family had a party and whilst the men sat in comfy sofa’s smoking fags (well. cigars) talking about a giant octopus they’d just killed, therefore saving the world, The “WAG’s” (although they probably weren’t known as “WAG’s” back in the 60’s) danced with their arms stretched out in front of them and did the “walking up an invisible ladder whilst attempting to swat some flies” dance. Over in the corner of this party was a band playing that sounded exactly like Temples do in 2013.

I may have got that wrong but it doesn’t matter….

It’s a bloody good sound that Temples make, y’know? From the simple nonchalant tambourine right down to lead singer and pop star in the making James Bagshaw’s Carlos Santana guitar solos, right through to the equally nonchalant backing vocals that come and go at moments that seem just…well perfect. We imagine their record collections at home are probably all vinyl originals by The Byrds, T-Rex, Stone Roses and countless obscure psychedelic bands that no one else has ever heard from the 60’s as well as the odd Tame Impala CD. They’re notably confident enough to not be tempted to turn everything up to eleven and expect the rest of us to work out what’s going on ourselves under a cacophony of noise.


Support band this evening are Wytches, who are a bit guilty of that. Blimey, they make a racket, the sort of racket that almost every band in Camden seemed to be making at the start of the 90’s. Grunge influenced 60’s psychedelia with a bit of shouting here and there with lots of echo and that spiral light show that almost everyone seems to be using at the moment. We’ll have another look at these again another day no doubt.

Temples have probably been honing these tunes for years now. They give us the impression they’ve been so wrapped up in their own little world that I’d wager the words Kasabian mean next to nothing to them. They’re about to fit in nicely with today’s musical climate. Heavenly Recordings, yes them yet again, seem to have hauled them up along with all those other bands who, although equally as guilty of sounding a bit like those obscure bands that no one listened to (at the time) in the 60’s, cannot be ignored and will be hugely disliked by the 20-something indie kids still looking for the next Mumford and Sons.

We get twanging guitars (lots of them racked up and ready to be swapped and re-tuned), the odd burst of the 60’s sounding organ, nice simple drums and a collection of bass lines that most bands would kill for.


James Bagshaw looks a bit like my granny after a heavy night out at the Bingo. His glittery eyes, BIG hair and tight gold top makes him probably the only pop star you’ll have the chance of seeing on a Monday night in North London (If you discount that bloke from Manchester hiding in the corner nodding agreeably). In fact one thinks this band better get going fast because if this bloke is still doing this stuff in his forties and still looking like this, he’ll look terrible. It’s a young man’s game this and the thought has crossed my mind more than once this evening as to what (if they’re still going) the dickens will this lot be like after three albums? However I’m running away a bit too fast at the moment.

We have a band here that are probably half way to providing us with what will one day be a superb debut album…yes, half way! Hopefully they’ve got the other half tucked away somewhere, that when ready will equal the simple chugging, verse/chorus formula they currently display this evening and not be padded out with any wig out hippy dippy improvised rubbish that thankfully at the moment we don’t get.

What we do get is a shortish set of great songs, all a little different to each other but all tunes that we may all fall in love with in the next year or two. Many many years ago Primal Scream began a bit like this you know ..a bit like the Stone Roses, but before the Stone Roses. A bit like T-Rex and a lot like the Byrds. A bit like Todd Rundgren and a little like Caravan. And a bit like The Move (ask yr grandparents).

Get started on their debut ‘Shelter Song’ and you’ll go “AAAHhhh, I’ve heard this loads of times!” It’s a track that seems to be played in most drinking establishments we visit nowadays and for the record, I’ve still yet to see ANYONE dance to it. You’ll recognise it when it starts as it’s a bit like The Beatles ‘Ticket to Ride’ or ‘Daytripper’. That bit’s not important, but it will remind you of something (maybe both?).

Temples …a promising start, a bit out on their own and a band definitely worth having a look at.

Check out Temples on Facebook, SoundCloud and twitter. You can also find opening band The Wytches at their official site.

Words by Keith Goldhanger. More writing my Keith on Louder Than War can be found here. Visit Keith on Facebook and twitter.

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Keith Goldhanger -- Spent the '90s as a frontman with London noise merchants HEADBUTT - spent the '80s in 'Peel favourites' BASTARD KESTREL. Spent a few years mashing up tunes and remixing bands as HIDEOUS WHEEL INVENTION. Is often out and about getting in the way of things and bumping his head on low ceilings - Will give your band the time of day but will dislike any band that balances full pints of alcohol on the top of guitar amps (Not keen on lead singers that wear hats either).


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