Live review of Moon Duo and Temples at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
When a band comes on stage to set up what’s the first thing you do? You stand there, pint in hand, silently judging them.
So up step second support act: ‘Temples.’
“Fucking hell, he looks like that guy from the horrors mixed with the kooks prick and a bit of Noel Fielding or summat. That keyboard player’s going for the Ringo Starr reincarnated look. God these are gonna be crap.”
These were initial judgments of appearance and taste. It’s important to say at this point that nearly every band that have big hair and keyboardists are shit. And nobheads.
But then a weird thing happened, Temples started playing and they were good, really good. Self proclaimed ‘neo-psych’ rockers, they’re probably getting sick of all the references they receive about bands from the original era but it’s hard not to. They’re more pop, Beatles, magical mystery tour style than they are rocking 13th floor elevators. They’re the good acid trip, the one that ends in laughing at Pepperamis and praising beetle god rather than the one that culminates in rolling on the bathroom floor, being sick while the floor’s trying to eat your face off.
The crowd was pretty hyped up for a Tuesday night when Temples started. Thankfully the sound was good throughout, I guess the psychedelic era was all about discovery and playing about with things and that was consistent in the music. The singer and guitarist, James Bagshaw, used three guitars which seemed a bit strange for a support band that probably only played 7 or 8 songs but it persuaded you that they knew what they were doing. They’re musicians in a band trying to make good music rather than lads that can play an instrument and see being in a band as a good pulling technique.
I said before that most bands with keyboards are shit but in fact, Adam Smith, on keys really set the tone and held the rhythm, adding the neo-psych elements that no guitar effect pedals could. Sam Toms on drums was great and unleashed some real energy into the crowd, whilst bassist, Thomas Warmsley, was as consistent with haircut and musical prowess as the others.
Bagshaw between songs was polite but pretty quiet, during songs he was different, he was a proper front man. A conductor as well as a guitarist and singer, a showman, twitching at every note as if electricity ran through the top end of his guitar.
Temples, as a support band were great, lasting just the right amount of time and definitely got an, ahem, older crowd going. But you get the feeling they won’t be supporting for long and finished with their debut single: ‘Shelter song.’ A Beatles influenced track if ever there was one complete with; a battle between vocals and backing vocals, a Sgt peppery riff and a plea to take it to the ‘twilight zone.’
Before last night I didn’t know anything about Temples but I do now and they’re definitely starting to create a stir having been named as one of the guardian’s ‘new band of the day’ and in NME’s ‘10 tracks you have to hear this week’ all in the last month or so.
They’re also supporting Mystery Jets on the same tour that Drenge will be supporting. I highly recommend seeing this band live before making any judgments about their records, or their hair.
As the anticipation built after a rousing performance from Temples, the lights dimmed to almost complete darkness and, in a Brudenell rarity, projectors burst into action directing nonsensical, static images on stage doubling the duo’s presence with a pair of silhouettes.White noise accompanied by comparable images on stage lasted a few minutes until Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada took to stage and, without a word being spoken instantly started playing. After 20 seconds confused glances from Johnson to Yamada halted progress, five minutes of silence and uncomfortable watching proceeded, the band explained ‘technical difficulties’ and disappeared off stage.Whilst the pair were off stage, for what seemed like a pretty long time, the crowd went a bit flat but most just took the opportunity to get another pint and go for a piss. As soon as Ripley and Sanae returned the place was loving it and with the intense wall of noise they quickly began to blast at us it was hard not to immediately get back into the mood.
On re arrival to stage Johnson had explained the lack of bass, leaving Yamada to ‘improvise’, later I managed to catch up with Johnson and asked the problem in which he replied “ didn’t go well man, there was no bass, no bass in this place”. I couldn’t help but chuckle.
Anyway. Moon Duo set about their intense opening once more, still, without bass. If truth were told, it had appeared to have a negative effect on the duo in the opening couple of songs looking and sounding a little disheveled Johnson’s vocals seemed unobtrusive, in fact in those opening two or three songs Moon Duo were almost so intently shoegaze Ripley Johnson seemed to have forgotten about vocals all together.
Thankfully, as time went on Moon Duo grew into the gig along with the quality and the superiority of lead guitar. Once the crowd recognised the memorable single ‘Seer’ from their debut album ‘Mazes’, the sea of nodding heads gave the pair the vote of confidence they needed, the lack of bass became unrecognisable.
The oura and connection between the pair is undeniable, once in full flow, even crouched over their instruments with hair covering both their faces they sounded regimented and tight.
As one track melted into the next with a wonderful flow, a brief break in noise gave Sanae Yamada the chance to charm the crowd and Johnson the opportunity to wipe the sweat from his face with his checked shirt.
Although Johnson may feel Mood Duo’s return to the Brudenell Social club didn’t go as well as he’d hoped, an expectant Brudenell crowd seemed pleased with the psychedelic performance, although not fooled by a premature ta-ta (which lasted all of 10 seconds off stage) before the predictable, and, almost expectant encore went down a treat.
Moon Duo are still touring and all tour dates can be found here.