The Temperance Movement – Shepherd’s Bush Empire
My first trip to the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and the first of two opportunities to see Classic Rock’s Best New Band of 2013 in short succession. Having been blown away by a storming set at the Steelhouse Festival last summer as well as missing the opportunity to see them later in the year at The Globe, the opportunity to see the British Blues and Rock outfit whilst in London was one I wasn't going to turn down. Despite the ball ache of a tube strike, it was surprisingly easy to get to Shepherd’s Bush via London Overground and I arrived at the venue which has, like several other O2 venues, been slightly tarnished by the mobile phone company’s sponsorship approach. My location for the gig was on level 3, which for those of you who have never visited the venue is high up. Although a little way from the action it affords a smashing view of the whole hall, with some rather ornate coving and architecture which I think would have been a little difficult to appreciate from the stalls. It also allowed me to sit back and watch the bands from on high, providing a different perspective from that which I usually obtain.
Anyway, onto the support act. Brother and Bones are a five piece Alt-rock outfit from the UK who simply oozed class. With a very enthusiastic crowd lapping up every note, the band delivered an impressive 35 minutes which included tracks from their two EPs; 2012s For All We Know and last year’s five track offering To Be Alive. The band, who comprise Yiannis Sachinis on drums, Simon Robinson on bass, James Willard on guitar, Robin Howell-Sprent on percussion are led by the charismatic Richard Thomas who provides acoustic guitar and voice. Having researched them a little more after the gig it would appear that Brother and Bones are already widely tipped as one to watch and I would heartily endorse this. They can rock with the best of them but it is their acoustic numbers that really make them something special. I don't really want to compare them to anyone but I suppose that Kings of Leon would be a reasonable similarity but that might be doing both bands a disservice. They are delivering a full acoustic set at Cardiff on 3 May which will be something not to be missed. 8/10
Last July the editor of this illustrious blog and I (along with the incredible Brett Perry) stood in a field on the top of a mountain in Ebbw Vale and watched TTM deliver 40 minutes of classic blues rock with all the swagger of The Faces, The Black Crowes and of course the Rolling Stones. Their self-titled debut album which was released shortly afterwards was a beautiful slab of rock fused with elements of soul, country and in passages almost evangelical in delivery. Led by the hyperactive Glaswegian Phil Campbell, TTM delivered a fantastically paced set, opening with the upbeat Ain't No Telling with Campbell whirling like a dervish. He cuts shapes like a young Iggy Pop (minus the cock in your face), dancing across the stage, unable to stand still for a second. The band followed this with Battle Lines before an extended Take It Back where some improvisation demonstrated the talents of the rest of the band. Guitarists Luke Potashnick (ex-Rooster and Ben's Brother) and Paul Sayer complement each other beautifully, with both demonstrating some mean axe work as well as the more delicate side of their craft. The rhythm section consists of former Jamiroquai bassist Nick Fyffe (who has also deputised for Roger Glover in Deep Purple, no less) and Australian-born drummer Damon Wilson, who has played with the likes of Ray Davies, The Waterboys and Feeder. The set naturally featured the bulk of songs on the debut album. They debuted a new track in Oh Lorraine which nestled perfectly comfortably amongst numbers that have already become firm fan favourites
After a brilliant version of Only Friend TTM lowered the tempo with a beautiful version of Chinese Lanterns that segued into Lovers and Fighters with Campbell adding some acoustic guitar to proceedings. The main set closed with Know For Sure which left the packed house asking for more.
If you are a fan of TTM you'll already have worked out the encores: The glorious Pride which had goose bumps on the skin before the evening was wrapped up with a rousing Midnight Black. An hour and a half of top quality music which absolutely flew by. If you like a bit of good time rock ‘n’ roll then make sure you catch these guys. They are absolutely stunning and destined to go on to much bigger things. 10/10
(Editor's note: After witnessing the band in Cardiff, I wholeheartedly agree with Paul, The Temperance Movement are certainly one of the finest live bands on the circuit, never has electrifying been such an apt term. Brother And Bones Richard Thomas performed an acoustic solo set too which was stirring and very an excellent warm up, his voice is amazing!)