TVD Live Shots:
Temples at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush
Empire, 12/8

I’ve always been intrigued by British rock band Temples. They have that perfect mix of nostalgia, mystique, and psychedelia, not only with their late ’60s inspired look but most importantly, with their music. They’ve been on my radar for years, but we’ve never been in the same city at the same time, that is until last Sunday at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Having spent quite a bit of time with their latest album Hot Motion, I was thrilled to finally see the live show up close and personal in one of London’s best venues.

After photographing the standard first three songs in some very challenging light, I grabbed a beer and went up to the balcony to watch the show. I quickly found myself thinking, “holy shit, these guys are good.” Each song was getting better than the first. The only other time I’ve seen this was watching Father John Misty for the first time years ago in San Francisco. The setlist was perfect and flowed beautifully to the end—not a dud in sight.

The same thing happened with Temples. New songs such as “Hot Motion” set up the more familiar classics such as “Shelter Song.” It just worked, and the crowd responded accordingly. At one point, there was even a bit of a mosh pit, which makes zero sense to me. Then again, I saw a vicious mosh pit at the My Vitriol show a few weeks back.

In the mess that is the music industry today, talent no longer seems to be the leading indicator of future success. It’s much more about luck, consistency, and building a strong relationship with your fans and advocates. So the question becomes, what the hell do you do with a band like Temples? It’s not like they are going to have a breakthrough “hit” anytime soon, nor should that be the focus, but I think it would be interesting to pair them in 2020 on some interesting tours.

As I watched Temples mesmerize with their very accurate and more importantly, believable throwback to the late ’60s psychedelic movement, I kept thinking of their UK counterparts The Struts. The Struts seemingly have the same problem, they are absolutely brilliant live, but what the hell do you do with a ’70s glam rock band on a major label in 2020?

Picture this—a triple bill celebrating three decades. Temples for the ’60s, The Struts for the ’70s, and I don’t know, but how about The Quireboys for the ’80s? I can see each band not only being embraced at sold-out theaters across the UK but also quickly expanding their fan bases to folks who may never have come across the others.

It would-be hipsters, rockers, mods, and who knows who else would turn up, but it would be one hell of a gig. Each of the bands has a new record; now they’ve just got to tour their asses off for the next year, so why not try something new.

Three bands, no openers, each group receives an hour-long set and takes the audience on a musical journey through the decades. But if they need an opener, I would suggest Cellar Door Moon Crow, who just blew me away opening for Airbourne a few weeks ago. Try something new, get creative, and see what happens.

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