LIVE REVIEW: Temples at Lafayette, London


In 2014 the Kettering-based Temples released their self-produced debut LP Sun Structures which entered the top ten UK album chart. Whilst the band has had some impressive accolades including performing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and backing from Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr, the band has struggled to get mainstream media recognition and radio airplay.

In 2020 Temples released the Sean Ono Lennon produced “Paraphernalia” which brought increased rhythm and funk via quirky seventies synth sounds. Whilst their core psychedelic sound was mellowed for pop catchiness, Temples integrity remained intact. With another Sean Ono Lennon-produced song “Gamma Rays” building upon the pop-experimental catchiness of “Paraphernalia”, there was excitement for the first Temples London gig since July’s Hyde Park set ahead of the release of their fourth album Exotico in April.

Support came from the duo Zo Lief. With James dressed in what could be mistaken as his school shirt and trousers, and Laura attired like a legal secretary, one would not expect this duo to be so well-adjusted. Their deft use of technology with bass and guitars puts them on par with Wet Leg. James also performed adroit eighties-styled guitar solos, which found the correct balance of confidence without drifting into cocksure arrogance. With so many new artists not even attempting guitar solos, Zo Lief deserves praise for turning their courage into impressive cacophonies.

Temples opened the sold-out Lafayette with “Certainty”, the only song they would perform from their sophomore LP Volcano. The majority of the set would come from Sun Structures and Hot Motion. Temples professionalism was tested whilst playing Hot Motion’s “Holy Horses” when sound issues impeded the lead guitar. The catchy funk and rhythm did not waiver as Temples kept the crowd mesmerised throughout this song. “You’re Either On Something” also from Hot Motion shone as a pop, and unexpected doo-wop ballad and love song with vibrating baselines.

The latest song “Gamma Rays”, whether it’s because of its lyrics discussing the juxtapositions of beauty and danger found in nature, captivated fans the same way Temples staples including “Shelter Song” does. “Keep in the Dark” brought out the best of T. Rex’s style and David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie” without the harmonica.

The forthcoming Exotico track “Cicada” was performed with passionate guitars amidst a Kasabian-style vibe and hypnotic pop chorus.  As with much of the later Temples material, “Cicada” entranced the audience by going in a new direction whilst incorporating the earlier Temples psychedelic elements.

“Shelter Song” was performed before this shows’ only encore bringing collective halcyon elation to Lafayette. Simultaneously there was also a sense of pride and accomplishment with how Temples had evolved their sound across Volcano and Hot Motion. Based on the latest material released so far with Sean Ono Lennon’s input, fans pride will continue with Exotico. Nonetheless, the playout song paid homage to nostalgia with an extended version of “Mesmerise” with pure psychedelic rock riffs.

Psychedelia with elements of sixties rock and pop brought Temples to people’s attention. Temples early material has many sacrosanct live staples. However, Temples legacy is increasingly being determined by their ability to evolve their sound. Based on the material showcased so far Exotico is destined to be another exciting chapter in the evolution of Temples musical direction.


Xsnoize Author
Michael Barron 346 Articles
Michael first began writing whilst studying at university; reviewing the latest releases and live gigs. He has since contributed to the Fortean Times as well as other publications. Michael’s musical tastes vary from Indie to psychedelic, folk and dubstep.

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