Review: Temples at Manchester Academy 2


Stood in a crowded room, avoiding the stench of stale second hand smoke clinging to sweat soaked paisley shirts is probably not everybody’s idea of an ideal Saturday night (unless you’re of course comparing it to watching Ricky Wilson judging talent, without even the faintest trace of irony).

If you’re watching psychedelic rockers Temples, it doesn’t matter.

The kaleidoscopic Kettering quartet showcased a tripped out tour-de-force at Manchester’s Academy 2 - a venue whose, as a side note, unisex toilets had me walking in and walking back out, twice, much to the amusement of the group of girls stood at the sinks.

Optimistic touts were flogging tickets for £50 outside, to the gig, not to witness my moment of social bamboozlement.

Personally I’d want to be seeing Egypt’s great temples for those prices but there’s no doubting that demand to see these lads in the coming years will rise higher than the glazed over teen I passed on my way in.

Only one song in and I found myself turning to my mate - “belting (insert your own expletive) tune”. “The only problem is we’re going to be saying that after every song” came the reply. The expletives may have varied but the sentiment certainly did not.

“Colours to Life” is massive, as is every track played here; every one a ramped up, muscular version of the ones found on their polished and accomplished debut album “Sun Structures”. James Bagshaw’s vocals swirl and swoon; the driving bass and pounding drums acting as backdrops to the hazy, hypnotic riffs that drip from each song.

Many may feel Temples’ sound is merely the rehashing of bygone eras. Nothing that night seemed staged or manufactured. Just four young lads oozing mystery and magic.

By the time the clapping hands on “A Question Isn’t Answered” began to reverberate around the room the spell had been cast; bewitching baselines crawling off stage, entwining themselves around starry eyed onlookers.

“The Golden Throne’s” string-laden chorus flowed as “Keep In The Dark” soared, swooping down on those swaying below.

The Egyptian sounds of “Sand Dance” brought a touch of Arabia to the Academy before the psychedelic pop gem Shelter Song blew the dust away, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

It was left to the mammoth “Mesmerise” to end the show and end it it did, with an intensifying extended outro that left ears and minds ringing long into the night.

Temples’ debut album is a joy to behold. Seeing them bring it to life is something altogether more remarkable.