“Absolutely nothin’ fuckin’ like it,” Phil Campbell drawls, a brief look of incredulity flashes across his face, taken aback at the hearty reception he and The Temperance Movement are currently basking in. They’re half a dozen songs into their second headlining performance at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom. They’re barely getting started and already, it’s better than last time. Before launching into “Another Spiral”, Campbell jokes that the snow has gotten worse with Facebook.
By the time Thomas Wynn and the Believers (tonight’s support) have finished, the six-piece are playing to a massive crowd. Their raucous ensemble full of Southern tones and their naturally found Americana vibe is a great fit with tonight’s headliners. Rootsy, good-time rock and roll with boogie gives it a more chilled-out vibe than ZZ Top but there’s rich harmonies from Wynn’s sister, Olivia. Keys and harmonica fill out the sound to make it feel substantial alongside the staples of guitar, bass and drums. It’s almost where the middle ground of ZZ top and Status Quo meet with their boogie leanings but they definitely veer more into the Southern and blues sounds, ignoring the more poppy sounds of Quo. There’s a warm welcome for them and they soak in the earned applause.
Going by the comments on Facebook for those who weren’t able to make it, it’s a tiny percentage. It’s Saturday night and everyone’s up for a good night, ignoring the snow that has crippled the UK for the best part of the week. Whilst some people would be stuck and letting common sense rule the day, a massive crowd, a band and promoters aren’t going to let the elements best a Glasgow audience. The Temperance Movement hit the stage with “Caught in the Middle” and follow it up with another three songs from their latest offering, A Deeper Cut. It not only shows the belief the band have in the songs, but also speaks volumes of the quality of music they’ve produced with their latest album that not only can they do this, the crowd lap it up.
Naturally, frontman Phil Campbell refuses to stand still, a blur as he moves across the stage whilst the rest of the band remain fairly stationary. Probably for the best, to reduce the chance of colliding with Campbell. Tighter than they’ve ever been, guitarist Matt White and drummer Simon Lea handle the older material as if it was their own and the entire band have subtly re-worked some of the older numbers to bring it in line and suit the vibe of the rest of the music. This most notably comes when they venture into White Bear’s material, hitting the crowd with three songs from that in sharp succession with the title track, “Three Bulleits” and “Battle Lines” before working with more from the debut and latest album.
There’s a genuine love for their music and such a belief in their own abilities as musicians without becoming cocky. Campbell is an enrapturing frontman, his gravelly vocals loaded with emotion and pushes his voice to its absolute limits. Meanwhile, Paul Sayer’s bluesy riffs fill the room as he effortlessly pulls them out of the guitar and backed with Nick Fyffe’s thick bass grooves, they make a solid foundation for the crowd to bounce and dance around to.
Most notably lacking was the bouncy “Take it Back” which has been a staple for years. However, the singalong moment comes with “Know For Sure” before the band hit the final stretch with “Built-in Forgetter”, “Higher Than the Sun” and “Only Friend”. But that’s not before a stripped-back tender moment with the title track from the new album. “A Deeper Cut” hits hard with its acoustic leanings and shows Campbell’s most mature songwriting to date. A canny move for a parting shot.
The encore brings with it Campbell’s ode to Glasgow in the form of “Backwater Zoo” and even whilst at a keyboard, Campbell refuses to use his seat half the time, desperate to burst away from his place and dance across the stage. “Midnight Black” brings the night to its end, a performance which felt far too short and the band themselves looked like they could easily have battered out another few songs and still have energy in reserve. Much like their first evening at the Barrowlands, it’s a special one for the band and the crowd, one which will be talked about for some time. Of that, I’m certain.