The Temperance Movement

The Temperance Movement


Great and wild Phil Campbell has this voice, so manly, so pleasantly throaty, that one could be watching his performance for countless hours. Even if he’s just singing a prosaic “Yeah-yeaaah-Naah-Na-ah-ah!”, in a hypnotic loop.

Manchester’s Academy 2 is packed with fans of all range, from kids to those who were kids some time ago. That’s the magic of the classic formula of blues rock: it gathers all the family. Turn off the TV, please. After a smooth warm-up courtesy of the great band The Sheepdogs, from Canada, The Temperance Movement get to the stage among the Manchester’s fog. They’re effusively welcomed by the thirsty crowd and they properly meet the demand: ‘Three Bulleits’, from their brand new album White Bear, arrives forceful; sugar and gibberish free.

Campbell gets rid of his Captain cap and rock ‘n’ roll sunglasses. No unnecessary atrezzo, as he will be moving like an electric eel all the gig long, hands up, cheering on in body and soul. Motionless is not an option at all. This is a live show, right?


‘Oh Lorraine’ is also a quite powerful new tune, whose guitar driven rhythm blows you far away. Paul Sayer’s guitar suitably joins Matt White’s one. The latter guitarist is replacing founding member Luke Potashnick, who recently left the band to follow his solo interests. Special mention to the moment in which Campbell interrupts his singing to shout “Bass!!!”, introducing the stratospheric sounds by ex-Jamiroquai bassist Nick Fyffe. The following ‘Midnight Black’, ‘Be Lucky’ and ‘Modern Massacre’ certainly hit the target and keep the good vibes. I guess that the huge music-video-like torches help setting the mood too. Blinding white, heart attack red, back-on-the-road blue.

Sorry, I can’t help smiling at drummer Damon Wilson’s funny micro. So cool.

‘Magnify’, also from the new gem White Bear, starts with some eerie but still rather British poppy “uh-uuh-uuuh”. Absolutely misleading though. A faint psychedelic base tells our subconscious it isn’t the typical pop-rock song. This is hardly a coincidence: they owe their new album’s title to Dostoyevsky’s almost impossible mental task: try not to think of a polar bear, “and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute”. Just in case, Phil Campbell has the power animal tattooed on his right arm.

Extremely hot and solid, the opening heavy stomp of ‘The Sun & The Moon Roll Around Too Soon’ foresees an astonishing tune and certainly there’s no room for deception. You simply burn and melt with it. My favourite track of the new album without any doubt. The live performance adds even more kerosene. I would expect more roaring in ‘White Bear’, although it’s one of those that grow on the stage, definitely.

Fans can’t be disappointed as they also perform previous hits such as the gentle ‘Pride’ (All my pride would see you walk away/I was waiting on a higher call, but the revelation never came/Oh, what a shame), ‘Only Friend’ or ‘Ain’t No Telling’, as well as a ‘Smouldering’ ballad. At some point though, the volcano seems to have stopped spitting out its lava and I would say the excitement weakens a bit. That’s when I realise that I’ve been served a bloody HOT beer. At The Temperance Movement’s gig. See the irony?

I curse at the alcoholic beverage and I ramble: they’re undoubtedly good at what they do; yet, I wonder if they could give it a twist, try to do something (partly) new. But then I look around and see the passionate crowd and I think to myself: What a wonderful world! The start of ‘Take It Back’ irremediably reminds me of ZZ-Top’s ‘La Grange’.

They say a brief goodbye with the epic sing-along of ‘Battle Lines’.

Back to stage, Campbell wears his Captain cap again and also plays the guitar for the songs left: a disturbingly soothing ‘I Hope I’m Not Losing My Mind’, ‘A Pleasant Peace I Feel’ and the Kumbayá-My-Lord-like ‘Lovers & Fighters’. I wouldn’t choose these bluesy, cheesy songs to end a show that has set such high standards (and pretty much energizing fun). “Shine on/Brothers & Sisters/Shine On…”. Well, if you say so…

Try not to think of a white beer. Sorry, I mean bear. White Bear. Are you there yet?

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Amaia Santana

Good karma brought me here to Manchester, my second home, where you can stay healthy (despite the weather) and young forever, as you can breathe live music in every corner of the city. I do believe in the healing power of music (rock is my life vest) and I'd be so glad to share my passion with you rockers of the world!