Temple of Low Men & Lorenzo Goetz reunite to form Voltron-esque super-robot

There was a time in the early part of this decade when most music fans were sitting around wondering when Temple of Low Men was going to get signed and become the next band to put Champaign-Urbana on the musical map. Hum had done it, and REO before them — but we needed a new band to point to CU as home. Temple of Low Men had everything it needed: extremely talented musicians; a charismatic lead singer; excellent songs that could rock some serious balls. Other local musicians would flock to shows to see how it was really supposed to be done. The band quickly became the one whose Great Cover Up set would be the one you were talking about for weeks (Stone Temple Pilots was my personal favorite, though Radiohead, Peter Gabriel, and Rage Against the Machine were all fantastic). They lent their sizeable draw to benefits and tribute shows (including a few performances at the Iron Post’s Beatles Tribute). The early lineup of Temple of Low Men (Brandon T. Washington, vocals/guitars; Andy Lund, guitars; Guido Esteves, bass; and Ian Shepherd, drums), a couple of whom had been members of the wildly popular outfit Funky Butt Drum Club, released a full-length album, Degree of Slither, which offered solid songs and hinted at the direction that the band would eventually take. A second offering, the Normal As Can Be EP, was released in the midst of lineup changes that brought in bass player Josh Walden and new guitar player Anthony Gravino. The band had become musically ridiculous. How was it possible to be tight while playing in 15/16 time? TOLM had, arguably, the best rhythm section in town. As they settled down to record a third album that would finally showcase all that they had become, though, the band finally hit a wall. Shepherd moved to Iowa and Gravino headed for Chicago. Shows and recording slowed, and when Lund followed headed for the sunny shores of San Diego, California, to begin work for Taylor Guitars, the band finally called it quits. The record, with a tentative title of Swing, would be scrapped. This was the end of the Temple of Low Men story.
A new chapter is about to be added to the Temple of Low Men story, though, as the band will reunite on Friday, 12/28, and Saturday, 12/29. The band played the very first show on the Cowboy Monkey stage, and once word circulated that the venue might be closing, all five members decided that it would be apt to be one of the last bands to play the venue. They will share the stage both nights with another reunited group — Lorenzo Goetz — who called it quits last year. While some members have moved on to other projects (front-man Larry Gates is now the force behind Curb Service, while bass player Eric Fisher has joined the Beauty Shop), the band thought this would be a fitting post-script to a career that was closely tied to both Cowboy Monkey and Temple of Low Men. Fisher and Gates, along with guitarist Josh Miethe and drummer Jesse Greenlee, are eager to dive back into the old songs.
Both shows will likely see big crowds, so an early arrival might be a good idea for those hoping to get seats. The start time both nights will be 9 p.m. Friday’s show will also feature elsinore in the opening slot, taking a break from recording a new full-length album. Saturday’s opener will be Darling Disarm, fronted by songstress Kayla Brown.
Going to be in CU for two weeks surrounding Christmas and the ringing in of 2008 and want to know what else is happening in the world of live music? Check out openingbands.com and click on the “shows” link to see listings for shows with bands like Wonderboy (the Tenacious D tribute act) or Alma Afro Beat Ensemble (ass-shaking grooves). On Thursday (12/20), the Senator’s Pub in Savoy will present a show from Zupan with no cover (8:30 p.m.), while the Canopy Club will offer up a solid, quirky lineup featuring Coco Coca, Mit’n, the Duke of Uke, Light Pollution, and Kristov’s Agenda (9 p.m., $5). On Saturday (12/22), the Jennifer North clothing store space will transform into a venue with sets from Lynn O’Brien, Marla Hansen, Angie Heaton, and a very rare solo appearance from Headlights member Erin Fein (8 p.m.).

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