A Monday night in the heart of Camden is a tough one. Y’know how it goes: a long weekend and the start of a ‘school night’ week come together to make the sort of weary hellscape most artists would usually dodge. Alfie Templeman doesn’t have those sorts of concerns at this point, even if it is his first proper headline show in quite some time.
The past 18 months have been quite something for Alfie. Whether it’s the string of festivals under his belt, support slots on the grandest stages (his moment at Brixton Academy before Declan McKenna already feeling like a nailed audition for his own historic nights there) or the overflowing devotion that comes his way on every release – he’s kind of a big deal already. Tonight, he takes the stage at the Camden Assembly for a last-minute treat that feels like it was designed so Alfie could have a brilliant night with his mates. And by mates, we mean all those lucky enough to grab a ticket for a show where all present will be saying in the weeks/months/years to come, “I was there”.
With the small matter of Shepherd’s Bush Empire on the horizon, tonight feels different. From the commanding nod of ‘Shandy’, it’s a show that engulfs every single person gathered, whether leaning on the bar or thrust into the sweaty moshpit.
What follows is emphatic. Sounding beefed up and searing with purpose, Alf and his band tear through what already feels like a greatest hits set. ‘Forever Isn’t Long Enough’, ‘Stop Thinking (About Me)’ and ‘Happiness In Liquid Form’ trigger the sort of pandemonium usually reserved for a band at the pinnacle of their journey. Like a box of popping candy, it’s a set that bursts with every taste of the ever-expanding world Alfie has to offer.
More than anything, that feverish energy which sees limbs flying throughout is a physical manifestation of all Alfie represents. When you can jump from the slick neon-pop of ‘Film Scene Daydream’ and ‘Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody’ to a scorching cover of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and an unstoppable ‘Circles’, you know that things are a bit special. Despite those many gigs over the past few months, this headline celebration also (unbelievably) sees ‘Obvious Guy’ played live for the first time, too.
The glimpses of what comes next are even more appetising. ‘Colour Me Blue’ is a sun-kissed indie-pop-bop in the vein of Swim Deep and Peace, but it’s in the encore where things hit a new height. ‘3 Dimensional Feelings’, set to land less than 24 hours after the show tonight, is a direct hit stormer that has us moving in no time. A smash that most would love to have in their back pocket, it’s the click that takes Alfie beyond just another sensational new artist and into something altogether more essential.
Like a night at the cinema stacked full of bopcorn, Alfie delivers on every flicker of potential we’ve seen since he first dropped onto the scene, and tonight has something even more exciting at the forefront: hunger. Shepherds Bush Empire and a full UK headline tour may be next, but Alfie Templeman is already leaps and bounds ahead. A party, in every sense of the word; now we’re entering a golden new chapter. Take that, Monday.