In the early 90's rock music went through an identity crisis. The "cock rock" music of bands like Motley Crue and Whitesnake was replaced by Nirvana and Pearl Jam's screw-the-establishment grunge revolution, but in record shops [yeah, remember those!] this new sound was labeled "Alternative" because it was radically different from the mainstream sound being pushed by huge music companies. Flash forward to the digital music junkie era [a.k.a. 2008], rock music is once again morphing into a hybrid sound that eludes the mere genre categorization imposed by digital music stores [now I'm speaking your language]. Instead of calling this new breed of rock "Alternative" we now refer to it as "Indie," short for independent music [and Indiana Jones, for all you movie buffs]. The Arcade Fire, Editors, Franz Ferdinand, and Bloc Party are just a few of the indie bands to inject adrenaline in the vein of today's youth, and in mid-April London-based indie outfit Temposhark continued that rush as they performed an intimate show for New Yorkers at Crash Mansion, located in Manhattan's lower east side.
Temposhark, brainchild of singer/songwriter Rob Diament and producer Luke Busby, has garnered critical acclaim in the United Kingdom and America since the release of its first EP, Neon Question Mark , back in 2005. Temposhark's popularity sky rocketed when the single, "Joy" was featured on iTunes UK 's homepage and later became a staff favorite of the week on the iTunes in America . "Joy" was also one of the songs that got the crowd at Crash Mansion on their feet as Temposhark performed the hit single with a four piece band that included Rob Diament on vocals, Luke Busby on Keyboard, Mark Ferguson on guitar, and Mathis Richet on drums. The version of "Joy" fans get on Temposhark's debut LP, The Invisible Line, is more electro-based whereas the live performance had a kind of indie feel to it. That feeling was prevalent throughout the show as a vibrant Rob Diament joked with crowd in between songs, slightly goofed on the song order, and quipped about the hardships of having a French drummer; but overall, Temposhark played a kick ass show, and the audience's migration towards the stage during their set was proof. Initially, people were either busy socializing or watching the Yankees on the bar's flat screen television, but somewhere between the second and third song everyone started congregating in front of the stage. By the end of their set all eyes, cameras, and cell phones faced Temposhark, and the smiles on Rob, Luke, Mark, and Mathis could not have been any brighter.
The music industry has undergone some drastic changes since the "Alternative" days when people thought Stone Temple Pilots were carbon copies of Pearl Jam. Being labeled "alternative" was a tool used by record executives to increase the marketable value of a band. For example, Collective Soul, a band famous for the song "Shine" in the mid-90s, was asked to look more grunge by their record company so they could sell more albums, but in retrospect, impersonating bands from Seattle did more bad than good because they will forever be associated with a genre label that was never indicative to their sound. In the industry today bands have the ability to market themselves any way they see fit thanks to websites like myspace, youtube, emusic, iTunes, etc. These mass networking forums allow artists to make any music they want and market it to the masses for little to no money. The internet has taken the power away from businessmen who live off album sales and given it to the artists who actually create and play the music. Temposhark is one of those diverse bands that go beyond the archaic ritual of genre defining, and after watching them perform on stage I realized that as long as your live show is good it doesn't matter how the industry categorizes you. This band has what it takes to be the next big thing. But you know what they say, with more money comes less control, and that's when the big hair, spandex pants, and drum kits swinging above the stage come into the picture. Let's just hope the band maintains creative control, for our sake.