By: Patrick Topping (@ptopp_ing) –
These are the shows upon which the Horseshoe Tavern has built its legendary status: breaking bands on the precipice of success, performing tight and powerful performances to a captivated audience. The UK-based neo-psychedelic band Temples vigorously delivered a memorable show of such caliber last night. Temples’ colourful and kaleidoscopic material drew strokes from the resurgence of garage-rock in indie music, as they deftly avoided the pitfalls of caricature inauthenticity, and unwaveringly steered their vessel of potently warmly-nostalgic immediacy into contemporary sonic territory.
Filling out the bill were the throwback sounds of The Auras, whose boisterous three-guitar took on a roots-y garage rock feel, which brought a feel-good pop sensibility to the early start of the evening. The Toronto-based Invasions, on the heels of the release of their first full-length, performed a sun-flecked set of surf-rock bobbing rhythms, with guitar stylings oscillating between Link Wray and Robby Krieger and a guest-player on saxophone that injected an Italo-rock schmaltz into the beach party.
Temples chasséed to the stage shortly before 11 PM to the eagerly-anticipating crowd. The four-piece styled in a shimmered glam take on the mod/Brit-Pop look. Led by Marc Bolan-incarnate James Edward Bagshaw’s disaffected cheekiness (though never aloof), the band were chatty throughout the evening and displayed an earnest appreciation for the fans’ support at their first Canadian show, having announced the release of their debut album on Fat Possum Records in the new year. The eight-song set spanned the breadth of the band’s organic strand of psychedelia and showed a honed balance teetering between tumult and precision. At the start, the boogied slinking “Golden Thrones”set the audience grooving, followed by the thunderous, hurtled rhythms and swaggered guitar riffs of “Sun Structures”, ignited by a pouty-lipped Bagshaw at stage-front incising a searing guitar solo. The sultry “Prisms” sweltered in a 1960’s Palm Springs-lounge slither and tempered the pacing of the set before the warmly-charged “Colours to Life”, the decisive crowd-favourite pitched the evening to a peak with its crystalized layers of guitars steeped in the swirling anthem.
On the newly-released single “Mesmerise”, a harried pacing and layered instrumentation set in start-&-stop dynamics proved cumbersome before the hazy soaring multi-part vocals found footing in the buoyant bass-grooved chorus. The bristled “Sand Dance”may be Temples’ equivalent to Tame Impala’s“Elephant”, with desert-scorched guitar and bass hooks cast in heaving stride, a heady organ drone, and an eruptive alloyed guitar solo. The jangly electrified live version of“Keep in the Dark” sacrificed the flowery nuance of its folksy recording, but gained a bolstered backbeat and a toothsome edge as it gleefully protracted into flanged psychedelia. The audience jockeyed for more at the last song announcement, to which bassist Thomas Edison Warmsley candidly responded saying “we don’t have anymore”, as the band proceeded to close the tight set with the effusively Brit-Pop “Shelter Song”, replete with percussive swinging rhythms, call-&-refrain vocal stylings, and swaggered garage-rock guitar riffs.
The packed audience was nothing short of enamoured with Temples and their return to Toronto will surely be under different circumstances, as the band continue to grow their reputation for such assured, head-held-high performances.