The Temperance Movement might have opened up for The Rolling Stones this summer and rocked the masses at the 2014 Download Festival but the Anglo-Scots can always find time to revive their love affair with Newcastle and its myriad intimate music venues.
A fourth Tyneside show inside 16 months more than matched the standards of the previous three but this was, by some distance, the venue that best complemented a band for whom authenticity, ambition and a keen sense of history means so much.
Inside the very walls that gave birth to Robert Stephenson’s Rocket, The Temperance Movement raced through a stunning set rich in raw emotion and classic rock n roll. On track to complete album number two early next year there’s no stopping a band that’s always been destined for greatness.
By the time the headline act appeared, The Union’s Peter Shoulder had already treated his ‘home’ crowd to a tantalising solo set. Taking a break from his ‘day job’ – with Luke Morley back on the Thunder bandwagon and drummer Dave McCluskey touring the US with the Quireboys – the County Durham singer songwriter laid his talent bare in splendid isolation.
Shoulder’s voice has always been a joy to behold but this stripped down performance proved just how compelling it can be. Focusing on debut solo album Feathers And Rain, the denim-clad troubadour fought constant chatter and some alarming feedback to reinforce his reputation as a leader of the UK’s blues rock pack.
Yet not even the peerless Shoulder can keep pace with TTM right now. The band’s unrelenting progress shows no sign of slowing anytime soon with writing for album number two already well underway.
It may be less than a year since their self-titled debut dropped at number 12 on the UK album charts but the clamour for its follow-up is reaching fever pitch. New music has, unsurprisingly, been a feature of 2014 TTM shows but it’s testimony to the enduring quality of more familiar material that songs like Smouldering and Chinese Lanterns were the pick of a slow-burning set. The former, in particular, mesmerised old fans and new with Paul Sayer and Luke Potashnick whipping up a perfect storm.
The harmonious on-stage relationship enjoyed by TTM’s two guitarists must fill frontman Phil Campbell with supreme confidence and if the quirky Scot never looks entirely comfortable facing an expectant crowd his unmistakeable voice matched Shoulder’s for emotive delivery and convincing passion.