Ten Things We Learned At Temples Festival
Venue: Temples Festiva, Bristol
What did we learn at Bristol's heaviest weekend?
We recently took a trip to Bristol for the mecca of all things heavy and experimental – Temples festival. Over three days the likes of Converge, Earth, Triptykon and Sunn O))) decimated eardrums and made noses bleed (seriously). Here's what we learned from our experience...
**Bigger Is Better
**Bristol’s Temples Festival might only be in its second year, but they’re clearly not dicking about, with this year’s edition featuring a third stage and an additional 20-something bands. But would it work? Would there be too many clashes? Would it give us anytime at all to make it to the bar, or to stare slack-jawed at the dizzying array of merch on offer whilst we try to work out how we can both pay our rent and buy the absolutely necessary cart load of Sunn O))) t-shirts and Converge vinyl?...
Of course it worked! Thanks to some smart curation, and a running order that was clearly agonised over, most of the people Hammer ran into seemed to be carrying so much merch they had t-shirts stuffed into every hole and a copy of Monoliths & Dimensions stapled to their forehead, yet were also able to very drunkenly tell us why Slabdragger were their band of the weekend… So yeah, we guess it fucking worked. Nice one, Temples!
If You Didn’t Get A Nosebleed During Sunn O))) You Weren’t Doing It Right
Sunn O))) are loud, very, very loud. Motion (the club and Bristol institution that houses Temples) is a loud venue, a very, very loud venue... What could go wrong?
The sheer physicality of Sunn O)))’s sound is as important to the experience of the group as the ‘songs’, and whilst you might think you know them from their records, until you’ve stood in front of their monolithic henge of amplifiers and withstood the peculiarly tranquil and terrifyingly bracing cacophony of drones, amp squeals and throat singing, you don’t really know Sunn O))) at all. Thankfully (and perhaps somewhat sadistically too) this weekend the initiated and the uninitiated alike were treated to one of the sternest performances the group have delivered on these shores in a very long time. At least three people suffered mid-set nosebleeds, more than one person passed out, and they did such damage to the PA that Sunday’s running order had to be put back an hour in order for the necessary fixes to be made. And we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Remarkably, Temples represents only the third time in their history that grind legends Pig Destroyer have made it over to the UK. Yet whilst their Friday set on the second stage saw the now quintet indulge us with their choicest cuts of gory, grinding ferocity, on Saturday the main stage was treated (perhaps ‘treated’ is the wrong word, unless you consider waking-up to find that during the night your stalker has sawn your toes off a ‘treat’?) to something extra special and never before seen: the band playing the half-hour horror of sound collages and sludge riffs that is Natasha in full. Accompanied by an increasingly disturbing non-narrative film projected behind them, whilst the performance may have taken some liberties with the exact structure and tone of the original track, the journey was nothing less than totally captivating… Which is saying something for what is essentially the story of a man suffering a severe mental breakdown, and subsequently inhuming himself in the same deep, muddy hole as he buried his dead teenage girlfriend.