Teleman are having a great night. They’ve sold out the Queens Social Club in Sheffield alongside a number of other venues on their tour, including a few which have been upgraded in size due to popular demand. Here in Sheffield, the crowd are going wild, fervently singing along and even interrupting a mid-song pause with riotous whooping.
But before we get to that, the band are supported by local act Katie Pham and the Moonbathers. Describing themselves as “slop shop pop rock” on their Facebook, Katie, Jack and Oliver bring a fusion of laidback, psychedelic, funky and trippy to the stage across half a dozen tracks. Jazzy, gymnastic basslines underpin every track whilst Katie’s vocals are bluesy and whimsical. The band come across as quirkily self-deprecating and their banter is right out of a student bedsit early hours conversation, covering drugs, a smidge of politics and peace and love for everyone. There’s something catchy about their set which gets the crowd grooving along and even though they may be low key about their material (introducing a song “Gwyneth Paltrow” as just being an interesting title and saying the track “Thick Cut” is “about bread”), there’s undeniable talent at work.
Headliners Teleman bring their angular brand of indie pop to an eager crowd and despite the band only being on their second album, their set list is packed with memorable songs, from current single “Tangerine” and stormers like “Dusseldorf” to first album treats like “Cristina” which forms part of their inevitable encore. The band take to the stage to “Strange Combinations”, a between-albums track which most bands would be lucky to have on their LP and the pace rarely lets up. Rangy lead singer Thomas Sanders has a remarkable stage presence, despite keeping the chat to a minimum and a few polite “thank yous”, it is all about the music and his intense vocals and dexterity on the guitar. His band mates are equally talented and versatile with Jonny Sanders’s keyboard skills bringing swirly synths and samples to the mix, Peter Cattermoul’s deft basslines sometimes swapped for an extra layer of keyboard and Hiro Amamiya’s thunderous drums.
There’s something insistent and haunting across tracks like “Fall in Time”, “Superglue” and “Brilliant Sanity” where the band aren’t afraid to strip things back to Sanders’ vocals before layering back up again. Tracks like “Steam Train Girl” combine electropop with some solid guitar riffs and comparisons with current great acts like Foals and Metronomy are warranted, whilst also harkening to classic 80s synth pop.
On “Skeleton Dance”, the band channel a more retro guitar pop vibe, soundtracking a summer beach party and “23 Floors Up” is instantly singalongable like a McCartney pop anthem. The set heads to a close with the storming electronica of “Not in Control” which ironically sees the band more in control than ever, the hypnotic refrain of the song building up the atmosphere to a rousing finish. The encore’s aforementioned “Cristina” is a flawless electronic hymn and the slightly transcendent mood naturally requires “Glory Hallelujah” as the last song of the night, a stomping march of an indie ballad something like a more elegiac version of “Where is My Mind” by the Pixies.
Sanders struts to the front of the stage as they conclude, looking as if he’s threatening to dive into the adoring crowd and holding his guitar aloft like a true rock star. It may not entirely fit with the humble, professional, strikingly-talented nature of the rest of the set, but it’s a moment they’ve all earned. Straight afterwards, the band are on merchandise duty, a quick reminder that the band are still on the rise, despite the sold-out venues and adoring crowds and aren’t too big to meet their fans, sign a few CDs and make people’s evenings complete.
• Strange Combinations
• Skeleton Dance
• Steam Train Girl
• Fall in Time
• English Architecture
• Brilliant Sanity
• Drop Out
• 23 Floors Up
• Not in Control
• Glory Hallelujah