May 13, 2015 The Temperance Movement make surprise visit to NYC 4-14-15
Every once in a while, a new band comes along that demand listener’s undivided attention. Hailing from the UK, The Temperance Movement are one of those acts with the ability to not only turn heads, but keep their attention with their preservation of soulful Blues influenced Hard Rock and a powerful stage presence. While rather new to the North American audience, the band made up of Glasgow-born vocalist Phil Campbell, guitarists Luke Potashnick (ex-Rooster and Ben’s Brother) along with Paul Sayer, former Jamiroquai bassist Nick Fyffe, and Australian-born drummer Damon Wilson, have been touring relentlessly since 2012 in their homeland. Now as of February 2015 North America could finally tap into the buzz the band has been creating when their self-titled debut album hit shelves via Fantasy/Concord. Considered by many Rock fans as a knock-out must listen album, the band brought their live show across the Atlantic for a string of dates with Blackberry Smoke, as well as some one-off dates through the beginning of May. Making their first ever appearance on the continent, like any developing band visiting, New York City is always a landmark stepping stone in progress. Coming to the city for the first time ever, on March 28th, at Webster Hall, the five-piece band were so inspired by the experience, they made a surprise last minute announcement they would be hitting the city that never sleeps again on Tuesday April 14th within the intimate confines of Lower East Side’s Mercury Lounge. Regardless that this was a last minute gig, a large crowd gathered on the sidewalk prior to doors opening, awaiting a chance to see The Temperance Movement.
Piling into the rear room behind the front bar, no one was seen struggling to grab a drink as everyone made an effort to find a spot to catch the band as they kicked off their set with funky track “3 Bulleits.” As Campbell grooved and jived across the stage, the big pay off was when he began to unleash his soulful singing voice and the irresistible rhythm of the band had everyone wanting to dance. Keeping that energy coming, “Modern Massacre” featured a toe-tapping opening beat by Wilson and perfect mix of Blues guitar from Potashnick and Sayer. Campbell continued to display a voice that one could compare to a young John Fogerty with emphasis on the right notes at the right time. Bringing on a party-like vibe, “Midnight Black” gave the entire rhythm section a chance to shine and Sayer’s emotional guitar solo was right on point.
Slowing it down in an smooth fashion, “Smouldering” gave Campbell a chance to lean into his microphone, close his eyes, and lay into some heartfelt singing that one could clearly see textures of the late Otis Redding peeking through. Bringing the Blues back to the forefront, “Battle Lines” featured more addictive rhythmic qualities while Campbell’s showmanship continued to flow naturally as he lost himself in the music and seemed to be living the words right before New Yorkers’ very eyes. Continuing to stay in the vibe, Campbell broke into some dance moves that would make Mick Jagger smile as “Ain’t No Telling” began. Reaching back for raunchy vocal tones, Campbell was unstoppable while Sayer’s guitar solos mimicked his energy flawlessly.
Breaking it back down to basics, the band went acoustic for “Chinese Lanterns” as the intimate setting was amplified even more and Campbell crooned the words effortlessly and everyone joined as backup, singing every word. Keeping that delicate mood going, “Pride” came before the cool guitar licks of “Only Friend.” Showing off more body movement that was in sync with the music, Campbell reached for the sky in what seemed to be the final song of the set. Wanting more, the audience patiently awaited the band’s return in hopes for one more song. Answering the call, The Temperance Movement blew the roof off Mercury Lounge with up tempo powerful track “Take it Back.”
Whether this show was a special surprise for the band’s dedicated followers or an introduction to other’s curiosity, it was safe to say that The Temperance Movement exceeded any and all expectations. This band combine the feel of old time Blues Rock with a modern sensitivity that is not cliched, nor trendy. They simply know how to Rock, give it all their emotion, and bring it to life on stage. Having a rare opportunity to see these budding stars in such a quaint setting will be hard to come by as more people catch on to The Temperance Movement’s existence stateside. There are still some chance to see the band play headlining gigs through May 20th, so act fast, get out, and become one of the converted.