On an appropriately rainy Monday night, English band Temples played for an eager crowd at the Star Theater in Portland, Oregon. The psych rock four piece hadn’t been back in the city since May of last year when they were touring off their 2014 debut album Sun Structures and the crowds’ excitement for their return was palpable. With impending new music, people were anxiously waiting to hear how they had transformed and developed their sound since their influential debut. Girls outside the theater who had forgotten their ID were begging to get in the doors as guys were hurriedly making their way towards the front of the stage.
From the first chords of the opening song “Colours To Life,” it was clear that Temples’ sound was bigger than the stage. Their guitar screeches brought a force reminiscent of the sheer power of live ‘80s rock n roll. But, the music itself put everyone in the room in a psychedelic trance. Adam Smith’s keys added a layer of vibrant, shoegaze to their enchanting guitar rock tone. Lead singer James Bashaw expressed genuine excitement to be back in Portland. He lead the crowd in a fit of clapping as he started “A Question Isn’t Answered” and suddenly all who weren’t moving before, were now dancing along to his seductive voice.
Bashaw didn’t waste any time in announcing that they had new music ready to be played. There’s always uncertainty of how a crowd is going to respond to hearing new music live for the first time since they are unable to engage by singing along. But, the crowd responded with bellows of enthusiasm as it had been 2 years since they’d heard anything new from the illustrious band. When Temples played their newest single “Certainty” it seemed that all the audience members already knew the words and a dance party erupted.
The band tantalized the audience throughout the show by playing expertly crafted extended versions of songs and captivating intros. Bashaw, Smith and bassist Thomas Walmsley filled every open space of the small stage by playing side by side, back to back and in front of each other. Every moment of each members’ high energy was embraced. Their banter in between songs was endearing and their thick accents and long hair charmed girls who continuously squealed towards them.
When they came back to the crowd’s uproarious cheers, their encore consisted of the wildly popular “Shelter Song” and the sultry, epic “Sand Song.” Temples played a bold set as about half of it contained new songs that the crowd had never heard before. But, their talent was manifested through their live show as everyone was far from bothered by anything they did. After they walked off stage, the effervescence from their performance lingered in the air as Temples had just put on one hell of a show.