Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Show Review: Temples w/ Spires

Spires at The Cat's Cradle
'Take me away to the twilight zone' is the quote that most stuck with me on my drive to Carrboro to see Temples at the Cat's Cradle. If you've never been to this wonderful, local venue, definitely check it out. Every show there feels like an 'underground, secret concert' that no one knows about but every seems to be there anyways. The entrance is now in the rear due to some renovations, but that doesn't stop the Cat's Cradle promoters from attracting a wide variety of well-known artists to come perform.

The opening act, Spires, offered up one of the best opening performances of any band I've seen at the Cradle. The airy vocals of front-man Jason mix well with their blend of dreamy keyboards and intricate guitar riffs. Playing hits such as "Comic Book" and "Sleepy Eyes", Spires more than warmed up the crowd for Temples, and even performed one of their new songs, "Parallel Lines". They closed their set with an awesome extended version of "Candy Flip".

After Spires broke down all their equipment, there were a few guys on stage near some old-school projectors. I also spotted an older, bearded fellow on the elevated area to the left with a modern projector. The videos I had seen prior to this show had a CRAZY visualizer. The guys on stage used translucent lens and plates to mix a concoction of colors and oils. It's difficult to describe how the visualizer looked in words, but suffice to say it was mindblowing. In the 60s, these so-called 'analog liquid lightshows' were pretty common, but the dominance of lasers, LEDs, and large screens made this ancient technology all but forgotten. The group responsible for Temple's visualiser go by the name Mad Alchemy. Check out their Facebook page for a photo gallery of their work, it's quite amazing.

In addition to the liquid lightshow, Temples torn the friggin' place down as the opened their set with their album title-track, "Sun Structures". The followed that with one of my personal favorites, "A Question Isn't Answered", which got the crowd clapping along to the song. During one of the 'crowd-banter' sessions, James Edward Bagshaw (Guitar / Lead Vocals) addressed the audience and a girl shouted "EVERYTHING YOU SAY IS AWESOME!" Laughter ensued soon after the comment.

Temples at The Cat's Cradle
Whammy bars and guitar changes were rife, as the Bagshaw had to change out his axe several times. The British group melted faces with haunting melodies and synthesizers. My main focus the entire performance were the BEAUTIFUL Gresch guitars that Bagwell had at his disposal. Regardless of the brand of guitar he wielded, the entire night harkened back to a sound of the early Beatles, with a hint of Pink Floyd. If you closed your eyes, you were almost taken to the Ed Sullivan show and Ringo, Paul, John, and George (the best Beatle) were on stage playing their hearts out for the world to see. Opening your eyes, you realize you are witnessing a modern iteration of the greatest Britain has to offer.

They continued their set with hits such as "Keep in the Dark", and ended their set with "Shelter Song". In total, they only played ten songs, and the cats in the crowd were ready for an encore. After leaving us hanging for a minute while their 'guitar guy' was setting up for their final few songs, we were graced with a spectacular encore. Temples began their encore with a song with which I was not too familiar, "The Guesser". Strangely enough, this is now my favorite track off of their debut album, Sun Structures. Fortunately, they saved the best for last, an extended version of "Mesmerise", fitting for the atmosphere Temples and Mad Alchemy had created that magical night at The Cat's Cradle. If you haven't already, check out their music, merch, and other stuff on their website, you definitely won't regret it!

Expect more reviews and previews on The Bottom String very soon. You can also follow my hectic live-local music performance schedule on my blog, TeehaMusic.

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