The Cooper Temple Clause
Glasgow QMU on 13th May 2003
Reviewed by Graeme on 18th June 2003
Between record company battles, bizarre one-off singles through the NME and near death experiences, the fact that The Cooper Temple Clause have a reputation for a damn good live show has been largely forgotten. This tour, in preparation for a new album later in the summer, is their chance to remind us all of this, yet it has more than a slight air of being "make or break" time for the band at the same time.
First things first, support act The Rain Band are truly hopeless. Seemingly believing it to still be 1990, they churn out Stone Roses sound-a-likes with all the enthusiasm of condemned men. To be fair, much of what they played was perfectly listenable, but it was so devoid of passion or invention you have to wonder why they bother.
After no end of delays (seemingly down to Tom Bellamy's monstrous hardware setup) the Cooper Temple Clause take to the slightly cramped stage. All fears are then instantly erased when they launch into an incredible rendition of A.I.M. Looking and sounding like they've got something to prove, their highly variable live act (and I'm speaking from personal experience here) is most definitely on tonight.
The next major point of interest is how the new material sounds, and this is where the question marks remain. Forthcoming singe Promises Promises is good yet unspectacular, while another new track (which may or may not be called "Ground Pilots") comes across as The Music having a bad day, complete with ill-advised dance beats.
However the vast majority of the set was old songs, and every last one hit the mark. A strong Let's Kill Music and an epic Murder Song being particular highlights. Double A-sides Film Maker and Been Training Dogs were played one after another in a slightly pretentious move that thankfully came across well with the audience. Best of all was a jawdropping Devil Walks In The Sand (arguably the bands finest song, yet it remains forlornly hidden away on debut release The Hardware EP) which stole the show in considerable fashion.
The album is going to be critical for the bands long term future (and what they aired of it was worrying), but as long as they are capable of playing like they did tonight they'll have the fans support for a long time to come.
(A mini-album of this gig in Glasgow has just been put up on the bands official website, including mp3's of the aforementioned Promises Promises and The Devil Walks In The Sand)
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