The projector screen ascends. All lights turn off. A dark midnight blue color glows on the stage with smoke rising into the air. The curtain opens, and four men from Kettering, Northamptonshire (England) come to stage with smiling faces met with a loud outpouring ovation from the audience. Lead guitarist and vocalist, James Bagshaw, raises his can of beer in cheers to the sold-out Lincoln Hall. Temples came to Chicago ready to rock and did they ever.
Featuring their newest album Hot Motion, they opened with a roaring build up tune called “The Howl.” Their sound could not have been more perfect, as everything from the drumming, to the bass intertwining with guitars made for a premier live performance. This was followed up by “Certainty,” off of their second studio album, Volcano, bringing them to their third track of the night, “A Question Isn’t Answered.” Within the first three songs of the evening, the band displayed in their physical actions just how much they were into this performance.
“This is where it all began for us,” shared the bass player, Tom Walmsley. Of all places in the United States, such irony for it to begin in the Windy City of Chicago. “And here we are now…a sold out show for a couple of dickheads from England,” they continued. And did that statement get the room laughing and clapping! Each song and crowd response resulted in a bashful “thank you,” as if it was hard to believe that this city could produce such applause. There was careful song selection for the night, providing balance to the new album, but respecting their earlier releases, ones like “The Golden Throne,” “Shelter Song,” “Oh the Savior,” and Keep in the Dark.”
Bagshaw changed guitars several times throughout songs and used certain ones for older songs, but his pedal work and gadgets, which give musical effects to the guitar, were extraordinary. The way each band member could perform in synchronization without even making eye contact was remarkable. Smaller touches like that in performance go overlooked. That detail only enhances the quality of their musicianship, coupled it beaming strobe lights of red, blue, purple, yellow, and white, themed together by song pairing.
The band would come back to a filled main floor and balcony level to perform two more songs in the encore – both coming from their freshman album, Sun Structures: “Sun Structures” and “Mesmerize.” And it would finish the way it started, a rocking band from Kettering together in “hot motion.”
This review was written by guest author Michael Kocourek