Phil Campbell’s blunt admission that there will be no new album from The Temperance Movement until 2015 is a cause of obvious frustration for fans who’ve followed this fantastic Anglo-Scottish quintet from the start.
This was the band’s third headline show in Newcastle inside a year and the clamour for new material was palpable. Campbell didn’t need to apologise for playing three new numbers – in fact Battle Lines, Oh Lorraine and Long Run drew some of the warmest applause of the night.
But this near 90-minute show wasn’t aimed at the lucky few who’ve followed TTM’s glorious ascension from a tiny warehouse in Hoult’s Yard via Digital onto the relatively lofty stage of Newcastle University’s Students’ Union. It was about embracing those new to this band’s unique live experience and ensuring numbers double again next time Campbell and co. are in town.
Like US rock n soul crew Vintage Trouble, TTM are playing their only album to death, safe in the knowledge that there are still millions of rockers the world over who are still discovering treasures like Only Friend, Ain’t No Telling and Chinese Lanterns for the first time. It’s easy to forget that the band’s top 12 record was only released last September.
Only when they’re ready – and when their self-titled debut has well and truly done the rounds – will a new album follow. The effect of that policy is twofold: anticipation for record number two will swiftly reach fever pitch and the only way to hear new material is by catching this brilliant band live.
Perhaps TTM are playing it just right. They normally do. Another faultless set allowed twin guitarists Luke Potashnick and Paul Sayer to prove their reputation as one of the hottest six string combos on the planet while frontman Campbell continued to perfect his trademark brand of ‘angular dance’.
Confident musicians and quirky characters, TTM are a band happy in their trade. Sure there was focus, concentration and attention to detail as they ripped through powerful versions of Smouldering and Chinese Lanterns but there were also smiles, warm shows of appreciation to a passionate crowd and genuine delight in being called back for a frantic two-song encore.
The latest material offered a glimpse of where TTM’s musical journey might be heading with whiffs of classic Aerosmith and the Allman Brothers punctuating the Tyneside air. Yet significantly the band’s new songs slotted seamlessly into a set bookended by Ain’t No Telling and Midnight Black – suggesting that magnificent debut will provide the building blocks for this band for years to come.
The impish Campbell might look like a man on the edge but he’d never lose control. TTM is too important to this bunch of experienced musos who’ve finally found their artistic calling and honed a sound so organic that it’s the perfect antidote to the proliferation of reality-television fuelled fly-by-night ‘talent’.
Debuting at the Download Festival later this summer, Campbell and co. are the very epitome of upward mobility in a music business apparently on its knees. It’s easy to see why: live shows don’t get much better than this and bands who write great music and perform classic rock songs have never been out of fashion.
More of that great music can’t come soon enough.