Iris Temple at Subterranean

By Avery Adams

Photos by Raymond Niro

15 June, 2019

As soon as I was asked who I was there to see while walking into the first set of doors at Subterranean, it was obvious this was the spot to be on a Saturday night. I’d only been there once before to see a show on the unelevated stage in the downstairs room, but last week Iris Temple was only one of the two main shows in the venue, playing upstairs in this previously uncharted (by me) area. The set up of the venue amazed me — although just a small, checker-floored room, the upstairs had an upstairs in and of itself — a feature that similarly sized venues such as Beat Kitchen cannot claim. The wooden banisters aided to the house show feel as people clung to the sides and greeted one another in passing along the stairs. Everyone seemed familiar with one another, and at one point while peering down from the balcony I thought to myself, “Those have to be somebody’s parents.” I later found out whose — as this was a release show for their new EP The Ones We Love, Iris Temple dedicated the release to the ones they loved — their families included — bringing whoops and hollers from the folks I noted earlier in the evening.

But before the excitement of the release show set in, opener Elton Aura — alongside DJ Squeak Pivot — warmed the crowd. He managed to get almost every person in the half-filled room to wave, clap, bounce, and yell with him. His fun, groovy, worry-free attitude complimented by his fluorescently patterned shirt made up one of the most effective openers I’ve seen in regards to readying the crowd for the main act.

It didn’t take long for the pair of Quinns (both band members are in fact named Quinn) to take the stage after Elton Aura’s set. But as soon as they strummed their first few notes, I was left in a bit of confusion. I knew the tender lo-fi beats that constituted a mellow ambience typically manifested by the duo, but that vibe simply didn’t correlate with what was being made up on that stage. Behind Iris Temple was a full band, constructed by drums, bass, and a second guitar apart from Quinn Cochran’s riff producing guitar. I was shocked by the coarseness crafted by the non-electronic instruments. I couldn’t quite pinpoint their genre or vibe, as their once noticeable suave beats were recreated with harsher instruments. But as they began playing some older hits like Ashes, the familiar smoothness began to flow through the room.

That’s when I first noticed Cochran queueing beats on his laptop at the start of each song. As he began reproducing these beats, the electronic, mellow rhythms became more prominent — especially during “No News, No Time.”

Besides for a few guitar solos and escalated drumming, nothing radical happened on that stage; it was all pretty consistent vibiness that blended together from one song to the next. It was as if their main goal was to keep the crowd swaying for the whole hour — and they did just that.

Although I was unpleasantly surprised by the lack of initial lo-fi beats that define Iris Temple, the live band enabled the duo to raise the energy of the room. And paired with the excitement they exuded for their new EP, the room quickly became alert and lively. By the time their most popular track “Lemonade” was performed, the compact room was swaying and singing along. And when the song transitioned into a few lines of “You Got a Friend in Me,” the entire hall erupted into song.

Despite all the movement from the crowd, my eyes kept wandering back to the duo’s parents, and it occurred to me: They’re just kids. I’d previously considered them as suave, mature beat-creators, but experiencing their juvenile, unembellished enthusiasm shared with the ones they loved brought a new appreciation for Iris Temple’s craft.