TVD Live Shots: Blue Oyster Cult and The Temperance Movement at the Eventim Apollo 2/22

Blue Oyster Cult returned to the UK for the first time in nearly a decade. This is a very interesting band for me as they wrote one of the most iconic anthems of the ’70s, had a string of brilliant albums, but never really seemed to break through like several of their kindred spirits.

Maybe it’s because BOC is a bit too diverse for their own good. They certainly have the musicianship and songwriting chops to stand out on their own, but their continuous jumping between radio-friendly classic rock pop songs and over the top psychedelic rock put them in the “where the hell do they really fit” category. It’s a nice problem to have for the band and their fans, but it can wreak havoc for any plan to achieve mainstream success and find a steady home at radio.

Either way, Blue Oyster Cult has certainly cemented their legacy, and the live show is where it all comes together regardless of the critics or manufactured radio playlists. Watching the show here in the UK at the legendary Eventim Apollo (the former Hammerstein Ballroom), it’s refreshing not hearing anyone shouting out, “I gotta have more cowbell,” or “I’ve got a fever….” as the band winds up to play “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Saturday Night Live isn’t a thing over here. In addition, classics such as “Burning for You,” “Godzilla,” and “E.T.I.,” comprise a setlist that would make any classic rock fan bust with nostalgia. The fact that the band sounded as good as they did that night is just one of the many reasons why BOC can still pull in a crowd.

But to be honest, the reason I was so excited to see this show was for the opening band, UK rock ‘n’ roll revivalists The Temperance Movement. I happened to stumble upon this band exactly one year ago to the day when I was trapped in Ireland during the “Beast from the East” snowstorm. The night before the entire city of Dublin was shut down except for a few pubs (naturally). I walked into a small club called The Grand Social, bought a ticket, and squeezed my way up to the front, wading through a sold-out crowd. What I saw that night makes me question to this day, why the fuck are Greta Van Fleet so god damn popular when The Temperance Movement is one thousand times better? Not only that, if we’re going to celebrate a band that’s going to carry the torch for the Stones, Zeppelin, Faces, etc.—then it should be one with substance and grit, instead of a paper-thin resume that seems to be powered more by a major label machine rather than a string of great fucking records and blistering live gigs.

The Temperance Movement live in a world ruled by classic rock, and while they may wear their influences on their sleeves, they not only summon the spirit of ’70s rock in its heyday, but they also push this sound forward while adding their foot-stomping signature. Opening the set with two of their strongest songs “Only Friend” and “Caught in the Middle” from the band’s latest album A Deeper Cut would have you wondering if the set was frontloaded, but that’s not the case. These guys have more than enough to fill a headlining slot that would blow the roof off of any venue in the UK. They proved this last year as they headlined the O2 Forum just a few days after I saw them in Dublin.

While I did love every moment of the nine-song set, the standout of the evening was the title track from A Deeper Cut. This is a stadium anthem that could easily be the song that puts this band on the international map. On top of the songs themselves and the stellar performance from the band, frontman Phil Campbell is one of a kind. He has the charisma and grace of an early Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes along with the strong but raspy voice of a Faces-era Rod Stewart, wrapped in a touch of bluesy soul that I can’t quite put my finger on. The bottom line is that it works, and at the end of the day you have one of the most promising purebred rock ‘n’ roll bands on the planet who deserve a place on your turntable. A Deeper Cut is now available on vinyl from Earache Records, and it’s a cracker from start to finish.



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