Image by Tracy Hyman
When in Newcastle…wear a red and white striped top, or so it seems in Teleman’s case. It did not go unnoticed by the audience, who heckled them regarding their fashion choices. Luckily for them there was much love out there for Teleman and, other than a mild hatred, the grudge regarding the singer’s attire did not stay very long.
Support band Girl Ray were refreshingly female, (the band is in fact the three girls with an added male instrumentalist for the tour) which, in this day and age, is still uncommon. The perfect support for Teleman, melodic, upbeat guitar pop. The girls harmonise beautifully and the two guitarists dance together at one point during an instrumental bit in one of the songs. They also start the trend of the night, with the drummer wearing a Snoopy jumper.
Teleman were warmly received. Two albums in and they are going strong playing melodic, quirky, intricate guitar music. There is the constant heart-beat of the drums throughout their songs, songs such as Skeleton Dance and Steam Train Girl, keeping the lyrics flowing and the songs moving forward beat by beat. Steam Train Girl starts off with only bass before layers are slowly added, a drum beat and then the ethereal vocals before the train fires up on its journey.
One of their earlier songs, Not In Control, stood out for its repetitive catchiness and synth-pop sounds. Strobes flash across the venue as the pulsating rhythm is layered with the largely monotone repetition of the refrain “I’m not in control” which makes up much of the song. Later, this refrain is played on the synths, before once again the vocal version resurfaces. The intricacies of the layering, the synths and the effects hold the audience’s interest; it’s meditative in a way, music therapy.
For the encore it is old meets new. The slow held organ-like notes at the start of Cristina; delicate, reflective, remembering with a hint of melancholy. Smoke descends on the audience from the ceiling. Again the ethereal vocals and other worldly synth sounds, dream-like and contemplative.
They crank it up again to end with a song from their latest album, the more upbeat Glory Hallelujah. The two song encore felt a little short somehow. It seems the audience agreed with the band, Teleman don’t come to Newcastle enough, just next time please don’t wear the red and white striped shirt.