Live Review: The Temperance Movement (Portsmouth Guildhall, 02/05/14)

Written for NOISE CANNON

The Temperance Movement. Image from Classic Rock Managazine
The Temperance Movement. Image from Classic Rock Magazine

The Temperance Movement are a hard blues rock act, seemingly sounding as though they were discovering the 2010s having been plucked from the 1970s, circa Deep Purple and ZZ Top, yet they can be found on the brutal roster of infamous label Earache Records – the epicenter of extreme metal and grindcore. Napalm Death. Extreme Noise Terror. Lawnmower Deth. So, should tonight’s performers really be there?

“Deafness isn’t an issue. You just have to accept it at big shows like this. You’re hardcore.” According to frontman Phil Campbell, and the earsplitting force tonight, it is precisely the title they deserve. When even a medley of their few acoustic numbers, assisted by Paul Sayer’s slinky slide guitar, is at dangerous volumes, it is no secret that they mean business.

And he wasn’t lying about the concert’s size, having been moved from a smaller venue, The Pyramids, since its ceiling caved in. Tonight, this poses a daunting task due to the Guildhall’s space for an additional 1000 attendees – to bring energy to the ominously, partially empty venue. Support act Brother & Bones, take a fantastic stab at the challenge, sensationally opening the night with surprising power, with even bandmates being taken aback from drummer Yiannis Sachinis’ solo. Leader Rich Thomas sounds in awe when he shouts “Whoa, look at that!”.

And so, onto The Temperance Movement, taking to the stage to David Rose’s ‘The Stripper’, though anyone hoping for them to shed clothes, aside from Campbell hurling his fedora has no such luck. That isn’t to say that they aren’t outrageous in demeanor. Or rather, while the majority of the band are deadly still while grimacing, highly absorbed in their music, Campbell dances like the mutant lovechild Thom Yorke and Jay Kay, wailing in the most convincing ‘Deep South’ American accent, at least to stem from Glasgow. Few can tribal dance, in worship of his bandmates, whilst shaking maracas and harmonica.

An extended ‘Take It Back’, is the highlight, and seems to be the moment at which the wall is truly broken, for the audience to go nuts. However, there is no moshing tonight, even though the sheer power and volume paints the amazing image of chaos in a claustrophobic, sweaty gig. There aren’t many bands that can get away with so many call-and-response ‘whooo-ooo-oo-oh!’ sections, such as those in an anthemic sounding ‘Only Friend’ and main set closer ‘Know For Sure’. The Temperance Movement is definitely one such band, however calm, yet engrossed the audience are.

While they have not truly destroyed the Portsmouth Guildhall, The Temperance Movement make no compromises in shaking the room with the guitar crunches, thuds, stomps and tracks irresistible to scream back at the stage.


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