A cold Friday night sees an almost capacity crowd gather at Queen’s Social Club for Teleman’s Sheffield return. Having released a new album in April this year and having played at this year’s Tramlines festival, Teleman are starting to garner attention.
The evening is kicked off however by local three-piece, Katie Pham & the Moonbathers who bring with them an endearingly bizarre performance. Musically excellent, the Moonbathers produce a dreamy jazz-infused set with exceptional basslines and musical arrangement. Despite the trio playing brilliantly, the stage presence comes across clumsily. Some unique humour is brought to the show, with lead vocalist and guitarist Katie Pham being sure to thank various supermarkets for their performance amongst other odd philosophical remarks.
Disregarding the bemusing antics, their innovative music sets the scene superbly for Teleman to shine. A brief interlude follows the Moonbathers, during which the crowd really surges in numbers. While half empty at first, the venue is now full of eager faces.
Teleman arrive and without a word launch in to ‘Strange Combinations’, setting the scene for the night. Their heavy synth mixed with a crunching guitar and prominent bass make for a brilliantly rounded sound; a sound which at times is reminiscent of Joy Division and at others more like that of Hot Chip.
Overall the setlist feels well put together, though far from perfect. At one point the songs blur in to one and the band themselves look almost disinterested with what they’re playing. This isn’t the norm for the night however. The set finishes particularly strongly with an energetic performance of ‘Düsseldorf’ before re-emerging for an encore consisting of hit single ‘Cristina’ and the anthemic ‘Glory Hallelujah’ from latest album ‘Brilliant Sanity’.
While it proves an exceptional encore, it also highlights Teleman’s biggest problem right now; two excellent albums now sit in their catalogue, but two varying ones. How best to mix the two styles into the perfect set feels like something Teleman are still working on.
At times the performance is mesmerising. Everything is rehearsed and performed meticulously perfectly. In stark contrast to the fans, Teleman remain angular and rigid throughout. This is a recurring theme in their shows and is surely deliberate. Their music videos have also echoed surrealist themes, as if Teleman’s act is actually a piece of Dadaist performance art. They aren’t as disciplined or motionless as Kraftwerk, but there seems to be a deliberate lack of typical crowd-pleasing on Teleman’s part; there’s no engagement with the crowd at all until beyond the halfway mark of their set.
Regardless of their peculiar stage presence, the crowd loves the set; large scale singalongs come towards the end and a rare smile decorates frontman Thomas Sanders’s face as he draws a strong show to a close.