It takes balls – great, big, bristling cojones – to open a sell-out show, in a city that knows and loves its rock, with an a cappella and unplugged version of album track Chinese Lanterns. Brave, bordering on the foolhardy.
But then The Temperance Movement know no fear: throughout 2013 supreme confidence has been their only friend. And their best buddy’s not bailing out anytime soon.
With their debut album dropping at number 12 in the official UK charts earlier in the day, the assured quintet had every right to try something different, test the water and trade on their status as Britain’s hottest live ticket.
That the ‘mics off moment’ brought the house down – and the odd tear to the cheek of grown men who are old enough to know better – told TTM virgins everything they needed to know about this majestic bunch of rebooted rockers.
For a new band they are, of course, old hands. And it’s that well-honed stagecraft, coupled with an incredibly assured set of emotive and uplifting original material, that makes TTM such an insanely addictive proposition for those who’ve studied long and hard at the famous school of rock.
As graduates of that lovingly imagined institution will readily admit there’s a fine line between imitation and innovation. But for all their Stones cold classics, Freesy melodies, old Faces and Led cladding, TTM retain an authenticity and an authority that ensures that boundary is never crossed.
Most bands just don’t make music like this anymore. But even those that did, once upon a time, never made music quite like Only Friend, Ain’t No Telling and the supreme Lovers And Fighters. They might have tried. Tried very, very hard. And they might well have to suppress a pang of jealousy after failing where TTM have so gloriously succeeded.
It’s a team effort but every team needs its inspirational skipper. Frontman Phil Campbell’s faux fur gilet screamed pretentious rock star but it proved to be the tame extent of his pomposity. Underneath lurked a character so down to earth and believable that his perfectly pitched vocals touched every single member of a wrapt Newcastle crowd.
And that’s TTM in a nutshell. Honest, amiable, genuine and affecting. Oh, and brave. Courage has always been at the heart of the classic rock brand. The genre needs bold flagbearers to cement its future and in The Temperance Movement and giddy opening act The Graveltones there’s enough daring to conquer all. Victory is theirs.