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Tempers// The Shipping Forecast/ 22.11.13

I arrived a little late, but I need not have worried; so had the bands. It was a while before the first act Colour arrived on stage, but once they had got comfortable up there in front of us all, it was the start of a great night. A laptop sat centre stage above a Tron-esque neon circle atop a rectangle which glowed different colours throughout the 30 minute set. Less entertainingly the entire event was marred by a lousy sound check which gave too little treble to really hear the vocals for any of the acts. Despite this massive fault, the night was damn enjoyable. In terms of fashion Colour were certainly colourful, the lead vocalist donning a slightly lurid but not unpleasant geometric T-shirt, their music followed suit. Both vocalist and guitarist took up the mantle of midi keyboardist, swapping in order to showcase each other’s talent. Think ‘The Drums’ debut album, with that fruity summertime sound mixed up with a genuine slice of Scouse Alternative. Being relatively new on the scene, it was apparent that the members felt just a touch uncomfortable up there on stage, but those nerves didn’t detract from their infectious if not unfamiliar sound.

So Sexual, the four piece all male Post Punk band, describe their music online as “pop music for the disenchanted” and I’m inclined to agree. While I’m drawing comparisons, I’d say that these guys were akin to ‘Kasabian’ smashed round the head with ‘The Automatic’ with a twist of synth into the mix. With greased back hair and a leather jacket for the frontman, these cool cats put on a slick performance, and though they have a solid rocker sound, it lacks any real sticking power. Quite why ‘So Sexual’ played before the headline act ‘Tempers’ it is hard to gauge, as the contrast in mood was pronounced.

Hailing from New York City, the duo Tempers straddle the gritty worlds of Post Rock and a kind of edgy, hypnotic Coldwave to produce a sound that’s a distorted mirror on their own performance. Working their way across Europe on their first tour away from the States, it was a shame to see that their audience consisted mostly of the other bands and an odd handful of real fans or stragglers such as myself. The performance itself was one of marked contrast and distorted reflections, the tall, elegant and quite beautiful singer Jasmine at odds with Eddie, whose grey skinnies and greyer baggy T-Shirt hung over his wiry frame as if not quite sure what they was doing there. Yet he made music as haunting as her voice, his synthetically distorted as hers was unadulterated, him motionless bar his strumming and her swaying, not quite dancing to the beat. I imagine budget constraints prevent them from lugging a drummer across the world with them, but the machine did the job, and Eddie handled the tech element with a mid-act nonchalance that would make any faux hipster curl their lip. At the end of the tour ‘Tempers’ will begin to think about their first album, but as to what direction their music will take, I cannot say. With their New York sound perfected, perhaps the two will soak up some European influences and incorporate it into their work. Who knows? All I know is that they made their mark in the most understated way imaginable, and the music was good.
Big up the locals ‘Colour’ and ‘So Sexual’. Big up the Yank ‘Tempers’. Check ‘em out.

/Jon Ferguson

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