Rock ‘n’ roll has always carried some element of danger to it, and it’s when artists plunge into the darkest, most sinister aspects that some of the most exciting, enthralling and captivating music is created. After catching Los Angeles’ own Twin Temple perform at the Hi Hat last week, it’s safe to say that this tradition is alive and well. Set up by the folks at Badass Bands as a live performance shoot with three-bands featuring San Diego’s frenetic The Schizophonics (pictured below) and young rockers Yacht Punk, the vibe at the Hi-Hat kicked up with each set before Twin Temple were set to take the stage. I wasn’t entirely familiar with the group, ostensibly a duo comprised of Alexandra and Zachary James, but had heard whispers of rave reviews from friends and fans alike from their set at this year’s Echo Park Rising. Intrigued, I made my way to the Hi Hat that evening totally unprepared for what I was about to experience.
For you see, Twin Temple live is a full-on, 7 piece blues and macabre ’60s girl group-style showcase the likes of which could position Twin Temple among the best bands Los Angeles has to offer, with a decidedly dark twist. I say this because the second thing that threw this unsuspecting writer for a loop was the band’s commitment to putting on a live show that doubles as a ritual in service to Lucifer himself. That’s right, folks – Satan isn’t just for the metalheads anymore, and the fun and exciting juxtaposition of that conceit with such a tight, well-oiled machine of a backing band is a combination that’s hard to beat.
Twin Temple’s performance started with a benediction of sorts, with Alexandra holding court over the proceedings as the organist played an appropriately sinister tune. Tying together paganism, feminism and current events, the between-song rituals performed by the group were as captivating as their actual music. Furthermore, an unassuming audience member was beckoned onstage to participate in one such ritual as a form of audience participation I find unfortunately rather rare among local bands these days.
As for the music? Well, I couldn’t imagine a performance that held true to the lineage of jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll than what I witnessed Twin Temple whip up that night. And that, combined with songs that ran the gamut of relationship issues and macabre subject matter with equal parts hookiness and wit, such as “Let’s Hang Together” or “Girl Trouble,” make me very excited for their forthcoming release. By the end of the night, my expectations blown completely away, I came to hold one firm belief: that Twin Temple provided their audience with an inclusive, transformative and participation-heavy show that really struck a chord with me.
Check out more photos of Twin Temple below.
Words by Lee Bedrouni, photos by Frank Mojica