When everyone in the room is feeling it, that energy seems to feed right back into the performance they’re witnessing. That symbiosis was in effect moments after Temples started digging into their kaleidoscopic riffs at NYC’s Webster Hall on Tuesday. Touring on their third studio album, 2019’s Hot Motion, the English psych rockers brewed the kinds of mysterious sounds that pull you in and keep you curious. Formed in Kettering, Northamptonshire, Temples – comprised of singer/guitarist James Bagshaw, bassist Thomas Walmsley, keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Adam Smith, and drummer Rens Ottink – have a certain time-machine synergy that takes you away. Their dreamy vibe sometimes made Webster Hall feel like another planet drifting through the stars.
The four emerged coolly from the haze of smoke machines, soaking up screams as they started grooving at 9:46pm. Although Temples’ NYC setlist barely strayed from the song order of other recent tour stops, it flowed nicely. They played seven songs from new record Hot Motion and an equal amount from 2014’s Sun Structures, plus two from 2017’s Volcano (“Certainty” and “Oh the Saviour”). “The Howl” made for a fresh opening, but they weren’t afraid to dish out favorites early on either. The first glittering notes of second song “Certainty” caused a big swell of applause – even before Bagshaw eased into its poetically trippy lyrics, including “We stand, we land the form of parallelogram.”
Cheering for Temples came at all times: as recognized songs started, as they soared on the wings of creative guitar licks, during Bagshaw’s richest falsetto lines, and of course, after each jam. Aside from a few warm greetings – like “How’s it going, New York? It’s good to be back!” – Temples seldom paused, maintaining a mellow yet driving momentum. One of their best-received songs of the night – one of those catchy ones you find yourself humming on the train later – was “You’re Either On Something” from new album Hot Motion. Its clever hook, “You’re either on something / Or you’re onto something” repeats three times before Bagshaw concludes, “I guess we find out tomorrow morn.” Of course, it didn’t take until morning for newcomers to figure out that Temples belong in the latter category: they’re definitely onto something.
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley