27th September | Thekla
Photos: Mar Reyes
From the first at the bar to the last at the merch table, there’s a constant, palpable buzz throughout Thekla tonight. Since releasing their debut, Breakfast, in 2014, Teleman have acquired a dedicated following who are making their presence felt tonight. The sold-out gig has evidently been marked on the calendar for some time by many here.
Tonight is the first night of the tour for Teleman, who released their third album, Family of Aliens at the start of the month. The record reflects the development of the band not only as songwriters, but also as a unit. The album title muses on the claustrophobic and oddball, yet kin-like relationship involved in being a band.
Candidness about the processes of being musicians is forefronted in much of what Teleman do, be it the video for ‘Dusseldorf’ or interviews discussing the use of office whiteboards whilst writing songs. Having seen much of the band’s development charted in the public eye, there is an added level of anticipation to the night’s proceedings, being privy to witness another stage on their continuing progress.
Before the headliners take to the stage, C.A.R. delivers a pulsating synth-driven set which includes cuts from the excellent recent album, PINNED. At times reminiscent of early Ladytron, the off-kilter electro-pop holds the attention of an audience excited for the headliner, only a few taking leave for the smoking area. Following C.A.R.’s set, very few make the exodus to the deck; many remain at the front, not wanting to risk losing a good spot or inadvertently missing the start of the set. From the rafters, pints in hand, it’s great to look down and enjoy the buzz around the room.
Then, to cheers below, out step the four members, donning their instruments before starting with the heavy, low-end riff of ‘Cactus’. Bassist, Pete Cattermoul is a big presence from the start, flanked by keys man Jonny Sanders and lead vocalist/guitarist Thomas Sanders at the front of the stage. His powerful playing and energetic aura are an initial focal point from which the night kicks on.
It’s clear that Teleman enjoy a degree of cult status, many tracks receiving the knowing cheers that come from fans who’ve dedicated hours to their music. There’s a clear appreciation from the band, who repay the cheers with the three immortal words – ‘fucking Bristol, yes!’. This rapport with the crowd (they don’t feel the need to shout ‘we love you, Bristol’ every five minutes) is indicative of a well-drilled band who understand the need for connection as a pre-requisite to good pop music.
As the night continues, the band deliver more crowd-pleasing favourites, like sleeper anthem ‘Cristina’, alongside tracks evidently chosen for how well they thrive in a live setting. Seeing Teleman live allows you to not only appreciate their songwriting, but also their individual technical skill. The combination of elements on ‘Dusseldorf’, always a highlight, with the crowd singing along over the shifting chords and melodic guitar lines, proves the epitome of the night. It’s a moment which sums up the best of seeing a band live. It opens up a new dimension on already-loved music and it keeps you coming back for more.