So on the way to another gig and realise this is quite a thing. Not only is it the first time I have seen Teleman live, a band I have loved since their transition from Pete and the Pirates, but also at a venue I have never been to before. This always adds an extra little excitement to a gig I feel as the hosting house can make a huge difference to the experience, it’s not all about the artist.
Well to say I was delighted on both accounts is somewhat of an understatement. On entry to the O2 Oxford I was taken aback by the size, well lack of size really and this is in a good way. This show was going to be intimate. I’ve seen bands at various size venues and I just couldn’t believe that a fairly mainstream act were going to be performing this close. The supporting act was brilliant a solo artist I think called Kai but I could be wrong. It was the one thing she mumbled in the warm up, her name. Her vocals and live synth work warmed us up nicely for the main event and actually had the whole venue mesmerised. Hats off to her as the act was very different and excellently executed.
So Teleman are a hard to place band, a very electro-pop rock that has a unique kind of sound. They formed in late 2012 rising from the ashes of Pete and the Pirates and consist of 3 members from that group with 1 addition. What it’s done is add a more accessible sound in my opinion but it’s still very bold and unique. An issue with seeing them live is not knowing how they would come across outside of the studio. Their tracks are super polished with what feels like a lot of post production effort. This is no bad thing at all but were they just going to lose that on stage? The answer I’m happy to say is not at all. If anything they were better live than recorded. The sound produced was phenomenal and superbly smooth and detailed with an added twist that it was all sort of speeded up meaning that even tracks you know and love had an added level of excitement to them. They didn’t sound rushed but gave them more spirit for a live event and the audience sure did love it, everyone in the room was certainly having a great night.
There was a nice mix up on the set list giving us a good percentage of tracks from the new album Family of Aliens as well as an abundant selection from their previous 2 albums. Teleman not only sounded great but certainly had an abundance of stage presence. They weren’t doing this with fake jumped up fake flair with with natural finesse and a simple use of lighting. Thomas Sanders on guitar and vocals fronts the band in an almost bizarre but effective manner taking to the left stage giving infrequent but good interaction with the audience through the gig with his brother Jonny on synths to the right. Both are quite truly amazingly talented musicians. To the rear of the stage is drummer Hiro Amaiya who did not drop a beat all evening and was just graceful in delivery. What grabs your attention with Teleman’s stage layout is bass player Pete Cattermoul who was strikingly to say the least he certainly turns a head enough for this author to confess to a slight man crush.
Thomas sang with true skill and elegance once never hitting a bum note and engaging the crowd before him, this combined with his superb guitar playing really was a treat for the ears. Jonny seemed to carry his role on the synths and keyboard with effortless ease. Topping this was the man of centre stage Pete with what I can only describe as an Eric Cantona brand of presence. He stood tall and proud hitting out punchy bass lines throughout and adding to the overall musical perfection with backing vocals.
Songs that really stood out over the evening for me were Cactus track 2 from the latest Teleman production which speeded up slightly as mentioned earlier really packed a punch and the crowd certainly seemed to agree with my opinion if the jumping, singing and general body movements were anything to go by. The next was Submarine Life for which Thomas grabbed a new mic set up with the scintillating sci-fi reverb adding that cool reserved for post production live on stage. The last track that really stood out is probably because it’s my favourite Teleman track well half of it anyway was their closing song for the evening Travel Song which if you know them is the repeated lyrics of I’m not in control which while this was being washed over us I think was a pretty good summary for all those in the room at that moment.
In short I can’t sing the praises of this evenings events enough and would both highly recommend the O2 Oxford as a venue for live acts and Teleman as a band for the connoisseurs of live acts they are a must to check out. If you already like the band then what are you waiting for? If you’ve never ventured in their direction then go and give them a try. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed and may even be tempted to write me a thank you note of which there is no need. You are most welcome for the tip.
Written by Lee Riley - Just For The Record.