The Temperance Movement - Sub 89, Reading
I’ll get to the music, and how brilliant The Temperance Movement are live in a minute. First, some housekeeping: cameras at gigs. Really, how many terrible, blurry pictures do you need? 20 or 30 not enough? No? Well, carry on and snap some more! I know it’s an old chestnut but seriously, have some consideration! And talking! What’s the point of shouting at each other all the way through a gig? Save yourself some money (and your voice) and go and sit in the pub next door!
Anyhow, moan over. Having really liked the album I was looking forward to seeing these guys in the flesh and their live show already has quite the reputation. The support was a strange mix of the acoustic and folky Samuel Taylor and the heavyweight rock duo Graveltones whose bass drum nearly juddered my insides out. They had a real hard rock blues vibe about them, and there was no way you’d be chattering over them - they made a lot of noise for a duo.
The first thing you notice about The Temperance Movement is how, well, rock ‘n’ roll they look. It’s all long hair and beards, with frontman Phil Campbell wearing a fetching faux fur waistcoat. The second thing you notice is the number of people in the crowd singing along to opening track ‘Only Friend’ - which is mighty impressive for a band playing their first gig in Reading. And it’s a brave thing to throw away your first two singles (‘Midnight Black’ follows) right at the start. Luckily they’ve got a whole album of great blues rock tunes to choose from, including the singalong ‘Know For Sure’. There’s some psychedelic wigging out on ‘Smouldering’ and plenty of banter with the crowd (it’s a hometown gig for bassist Nick Fyfe). The fully unplugged ‘Chinese Lanterns’ is a mid-set highlight, although it threatens to fall apart when drunks at the bar won’t stay quiet, but they pull it off.
By saving their best two songs for the end of the main set they go out on a high, with the awesome slow burner ‘Pride’ and its big guitar solo leading into the raucous closer ‘Ain’t No Tellin’. The encore inevitably struggles to match that high, although TTM give it a good go. You’re left feeling that you won’t be seeing these guys in a room quite this size for too much longer. A cracking hour confirmed there’s a proper rock revival coming and The Temperance Movement are leading the way.