“Thank you for coming tonight, Vancouver”, proclaims Temples bassist Thomas Edison Warmsley. “We’ve come a long way to get here.” And they have. Though “proclaims” may not be the right word – he says it with as much gusto as a bored teenager, though the intent is likely sincere. And that’s the thing about Temples – their love of British and US psychedelia from circa ’66-’69 is sincere. Their ability to play British/US psychedelia from circa ’66-’69 is sincere and quite formidable considering they’re mostly steps away from actually being bored teenagers.
Don’t get me wrong. Debut Sun Structures is a lovely listen – baby Bolan singer James Bagshaw lends life to “Shelter Song” (which wrapped tonight’s set), and “Prisms” and “Sun Structures” is a blueprint of anything good from that time – all Eight Miles High and Green Tambourine and Jeepster and Get Off Of My Cloud. It’s a fine pedigree. They’re keen mimics.
Live, of course, the songs sound album-recording clean. But that’s not always a good thing. Because live, there’s little life to Temples. They look good and have the hair for it, sure, but do they FEEL good? Hard to say, guitarist/keyboardist Adam Smith seemed miserable and Bagshaw appeared stuck inside his own head.
“Keep in the Dark” loped, and only during “Mesmerise” did the band trip out quite, easy, man. Temples show promise but there are too many well-produced, overly restrained, self-aware live acts on the docket these days. And when you find yourself preferring to listen to an album than watch it be performed (on not one but two occasions), you know there’s a disconnect. But it’s Temples’ first foray into this world, and there’s some time left before the seasons change on Summer of Love. Here’s hoping the band are willing to peace out and then take a few risks. \m/
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