Review: Temples at The Biltmore Cabaret

It’s been half a year since Temples released their second album, Sun Restructured, and aside from a live album for international record store day there has been little discussion of future releases. Their sound can be described as a cacophony of summer of love sounds crossed with catchy garage-pop and is compared with artists like White Fence and Tame Impala. The Biltmore Cabaret proved to be an excellent choice of venue and not just on account of the excellent sound quality. As soon you walk through the door you’re devoured by the Biltmore’s paisley walls and immersed in red incandescent light very becoming to the mood cultivated by Temples’ music.

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Upon entering, one could tell by the cultic chanting of “I Don’t Know” from the opener, the Cult Babies, that psychedelic festivities were well under way. Then the chants began to mellow, turning into groovy hymns. We were all ready for Temples.

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When they finally burst out on stage the crowd became extremely high energy. I almost got knocked down by a swarm of girls from Mount Pleasant when they tackled their way to the front. Even the leather clad bikers in the booth beside the stage stood up for a better look. These four handsome lads seamlessly channel the 60’s for all their fashion needs. To the right, the mod bass player Thomas looked like he wandered in from Carnaby street, circa 1969. Meanwhile, lead vocalist James Bagshaw was adorned head-to-toe in summer of love regalia. His haight fringed leather bodysuit was very popular with the crowd. Later in the show several of his fans took the liberty of having a feel of any low hanging fringe. They don’t just look the part, Temples embody the essence of classic pop-psychedelic but with a modern twist.

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The Band opened with “Sun Structures”. Although not their strongest track of the night, it parroted their studio recording flawlessly: the crowd most certainly wasn’t disappointed. The fourth track was where things got really interesting. James announced this would be the Canadian debut for several of their new tracks. The first new track was jokingly introduced as “Smoke Weed Everyday”; however the humour was lost on the crowd and a big hazy Vancouver welcome commenced. Afterwards I learned the real title, “Volcano/Savior”. I was pleasantly surprised by their new sound, as pop-psych is a genre that often becomes derivative.  It felt like Pablo Honey era Radiohead, with a splash of psychedelia. They then went on to perform “Ankh” from the Colours to Life single: it was unexpected. That night’s version of “Ankh” felt more classic rock and roll than psychedelic. Immediately after they went on to premiere another new track “Henry’s Cake”. It definitely reflected Temples’ emerging new sound, though less-so than “Volcano/Savior”.

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That was it for new tracks, unfortunately. They did a solid performance of another three tracks off of Sun Structures. The first song of the encore was “Prisms” that was released on their rare “Live in Japan EP”. I wish the keyboard was a bit louder but, aside from that it was a great track. Afterwords they seamlessly shifted to their closing number “Shelter Song”. I give Temples’ performance  8.5 VW vans out of 10.

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Favourite song: Volcano/Savior
Least Favourite: Sun Structures

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