CHAMELEON ARTS CAFÉ, NOTTINGHAM FRIDAY, APRIL 26 Chameleon Arts Cage, Nottingham, Friday April 26
When Palma Violets and Savages set out on a co-headlining tour last summer, the pairing made little sense apart from it being a kind of Tesco Value, buzz-band BOGOF. Palmas, a hedonistic pack of wide-eyed ragamuffins; Savages, riddled with nihilistic intensity. Imagine the awkward backstage chat. But onstage you were pretty much watching the future. The same applies tonight. Though both Temples and Drenge will inevitably be lumped in with the resurgence of the all-encompassing ‘guitar music’ non-genre, in reality they couldn’t be more different, or more exciting.
Castleton brothers Drenge take the early slot tonight (the bands have been switching billing throughout the tour). In the ridiculously cramped, living-room-like surrounds, their bare-bones rock’n’roll feels intense and feral; opener ‘People In Love Make Me Feel Yuck’ is as much a snarling come-on as a spitting kiss-off to the crowd getting all up in singer Eoin Loveless’ grill. The propelling, off-kilter rhythms of recent single ‘Bloodsports’ find the frontman careering into the crowd and starting the world’s most confined moshpit, while ‘Dogmeat’ sees the two-piece using their drums/guitar set-up as forcefully as any three, four or five-piece band would. Unsurprisingly for any riff-heavy duo, Drenge have a certain White Stripesy swagger, but the unassuming siblings are no rip-off. ‘I Wanna Break You In Half’ runs on guitar lines so taut and lyrics so vitriolic that Jack and Meg would need a cold flannel, while the fact that 90 per cent of their numbers clock in around the two-minute mark means the pace of tonight’s set never drops below relentless.
Dogged by technical issues, Temples are anything but relentless, and for 15 minutes the sound simply doesn’t work. To add to their woes, mic stands fall over, audience members career into monitors and every other problem that could occur occurs. Even though the wait between songs is painful, when the Kettering quartet unleash their psychedelia it’s near-perfect. ‘Prisms’ is wrapped in acid-soaked ’60s whimsy before building to a heaviness made for spaces 20 times this size; ‘Keep In The Dark’ shows off the band’s T Rex-indebted glam side. But it’s with next single ‘Colours To Life’ that Temples prove themselves. Bursting with ideas, it marries about four different choruses with singer James Bagshaw’s velveteen vocal, a slew of harmonies and kaleidoscopic melodies that should be impossible in a venue this rickety.