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Barrowlands, Glasgow
Wednesday 20th January 2016

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

the temperance movement

Canadian five piece good time rock outfit The Sheepdogs wandered on to the stage at Glasgow's Barrowlands and simply plugged in and played.

Very much a no fuss kind of band, there was very little audience interaction as such, just a determination to let their music do the talking. Style-wise The Sheepdogs are a blues rock with country overtones kind of band and the sold out Barrowlands audience for the most part loved the tight harmonies, the bluesy grooves and sparkling guitar work on show.

Personally it was when they wandered into sub-Allman Brothers style twin guitar territory that I thought their sound really took off and became something really interesting. Overall though the crowd really warmed to them despite the low-key presentation and they made a lot of new friends in Glasgow.

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The Temperance Movement have worked hard over the last few years, touring constantly and getting the band's name out there and their music out in front of as many people as possible.

The Sheepdogs
The Sheepdogs

This has resulted in a sold out tour on the eve of the release of their second full length album 'White Bear' and there is a real buzz of expectation in the venue as the lights go down and the band launch into 'Three Bullets'.

The sound is big and brash just like the sound on the new album and of course, like any band with a new album to plug they have no issue with peppering the set with new songs.

Always a risky strategy when the album is only just coming out and most of the fans don't have their copy yet but tonight they get away with it easily. For me the likes of 'Oh Lorraine' and 'Modern Massacre' aren't songs which have really grabbed me to this point and just don't seem as memorable and immediate as the old favourites they mix with such as the more laid back groove of 'Be Lucky'.

I hadn't actually seen the band since their days in the clubs so it's interesting to see how they have changed from a band who gave off a vibe as if they were just jamming, into a slicker, more professional outfit.

The departure of founding member, guitarist Luke Potashnick doesn't outwardly seem to have changed their sound or dynamic but his replacement Matt White is a reserved figure on stage and happy just to get on with his playing. The rest of the band are seemingly happy to do the same and the performance aspect of the night is left to singer Phil Campbell.

the temperance movement
Phil Campbell - The Temperance Movement

This show is really all about local Glasgow lad Campbell as he still lives in the city and performing to a sold out Barrowlands is a dream come true for him.

He certainly makes the most of the opportunity tearing around the stage and waving his arms in manic fashion. His antics sometimes look a little unhinged but his excitement is totally authentic and the audience seem to love it as much as his gritty, silver coated vocals.

The set picked up a bit of real momentum with the pairing of 'Pride' and a bouncy rendition of 'Ain't No Telling' and the more reserved tones of title track 'White Bear' is the first of the new songs tonight which really grabbed my attention.

The audience have been with them all the way though of course and the band are on the home straight and able to do no wrong through songs like the mighty riff based groove of 'Only Friend'.

New song 'Battle Lines' is a brave choice for set closer and when called back for an encore two more new songs followed before proceedings were brought to an end with a simply magnificent version of 'Lovers And Fighters'. Spellbinding vocals and beautifully restrained touches of guitar build up to a nice climactic crescendo.

So far as the Glasgow audience are concerned this gig was a triumph, their band coming out and doing their thing effortlessly and getting all the love in the world for it.

For me it's nice to see a band I really like growing and getting the success they deserve but I am still not convinced about the direction of most of the 'White Bear' material and I'll have to see if the songs grow on me over time.

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