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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

A View From The Back Of The Room: The Temperance Movement (Live Review By Paul)

The Temperance Movement Bristol 02 Academy

Hot on the heels of their superb third album, one of the UK’s finest bands arrived in Bristol as part of their A Deeper Cut UK tour. Having played a selection of small venues in November of 2017 where they road tested the new material, now was the time to deliver the goods in larger arenas.

These tours often have excellent support acts and those who got in early were rewarded with a storming set from Orlando six-piece Thomas Wynn And The Believers (8). Their soul drenched Southern rock and blues sound captured the attention from the start. Lead singer and guitarist Thomas Wynn not only had a fantastic dry delivery between songs but could also sing and play his guitar with aplomb. Ably assisted by the stunning vocals of sister Olivia and the eclectic collection who made up The Believers, the band whizzed through a 40-minute set which included a beautiful rendition of Springsteen’s Atlas Road from the album Nebraska, in the middle of their own compositions including tracks from their most recent release Wade Waist Deep, which is well worth checking out. The country sound was enhanced by the intertwined synchronicity of the vocals whilst the rocker edge was also in evidence with Thomas Wynn’s guitar work impressive.

Having seen The Temperance Movement (10) several times before, the only surprise was just how remarkable this band continue to be in the live setting. Phil Campbell’s inability to stand still makes him one of rock’s most engaging front men, as he hopped, danced, jumped and boogied all night long. Paul Weller haircut, appalling rose covered shirt and cropped trousers aside, Campbell captivates the audience from start to finish with his astonishing soulful smoky vocal delivery, whether on older favourites such as Be Lucky and the raucous set closer Midnight Black or the new tracks such as the powerful title track or the stomp of Built-In Forgetter. But The Temperance Movement are much more than just Phil Campbell and the rest of the band demonstrated this throughout the show. Paul Sayer and Matt White took turns to shine with their beautiful guitar work, intricate patterns and time signatures crossing superbly. Behind them new drummer Simon Lea proved that you don’t have to act link Animal from The Muppets, his economical style detracting not one iota from the power and solidity necessary to provide not only a platform but the essential rhythm. Alongside Lea, the reliable Nick Fyffe, whose subtle bass lines and perfect harmonies ensured that everything kept on track.

A 17-track set was perfectly paced, with the high tempo of tracks such as Caught In The Middle, the gospel style Love And Devotion (joined by Thomas and Olivia Wynn) and Be Lucky matched by some calmer tunes like the brilliant The Way It Was And The Way It Is Now and Higher Than The Sun. A Deeper Cut has penetrated the Top 10 on the UK album charts and it may well be the one to catapult the band to the next level. The audience, already familiar with material that had only been available for a week, lapped everything up, although the old favourites such as Know For Sure and Ain’t No Telling probably edged the response chart. Closing the main set with the beautiful title track from the album, complete with Campbell on acoustic guitar, it was inevitable that an encore would follow and what a duo; Backwater Zoo allowed Campbell to demonstrate his skills on the keyboards before a blistering Midnight Black brought the evening to a feverish conclusion. The hard work of the past six years appears to be paying off for a band that ooze quality. A must-see whenever they tour, and with one of the albums of the year already in the bag, The Temperance Movement are just fabulous.

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