Teleman - The Rainbow, Birmingham
The aim of London's electronic tinged post-punk four-piece Teleman is to "craft the immaculate pop song.” Tonight the immaculately presented and spoken band - Tommy Sanders on vocals and guitar, his brother Jonny on synths, Pete Cattermoul on bass, and Hiro Amamiya on drums - are playing Birmingham's Rainbow venue in support of their new album Brilliant Sanity, aiming to replicate its rather immaculate pop songs for a live audience.
The set contains many favourites. Sanders efficiently introduces 'Christina' with "From the old days; back to where it started" linking to the song’s opening lyrics. 'Strange Combinations' is a single only release nodding to fans; some in the audience want kudos sharing their knowledge of Teleman's predecessor Pete and the Pirates but there are no nods this far back. 'Skeleton Dance' highlights Sanders’s light vocals floating above his band's music. '23 Floors Up'’s bass rattles, those on the front metal railings should hold on tight.
The room forms an amphitheatre, a stepped bank and pillar-restricted view resemble a lower league football terrace, offering refreshing personalty, its non symmetry satisfyingly counterpointing the precision music. Communal bouncing and singing accompanies not only favourites but refrains to new songs, and matters don't always go the audience's way: Sanders teasingly sings the requested 'Mainline'’s opening verse then abruptly finishes, "That's all I'm going to sing of that one", which is responded to with pantomime not football boos. Like the music, banter is careful, "We’re a few dates into our tour and we’ve been looking forward to this one, because we always have a good time in Birmingham” is gratefully received.
Birmingham is a concrete city and cementing tonight’s catchy hooks are deeper stories of just out of reach love, walking in the dusk amongst modernist cityscapes. Whether a fun loving, respectfully noisy, and full capacity pub venue interprets this may be moot, but indicates the band’s ability to continue their quest to craft the immaculate pop song while delivering a good night out; the quest is difficult but audience requests for new song ‘Düsseldorf’ are promising. In between rousing choruses ‘Glory Hallelujah’ describes urban alienation in a hotel room waiting for a phone call, perhaps on a warm but damp summer night as the street lights are trying to turn on. The night's set is carefully managed, merging old songs with new even though – unlike ‘Düsseldorf’ – people aren't yet singing along to ‘Glory Hallelujah’ they will be soon as it receives one of the night’s largest applauses.
The night concludes with an early favourite ‘Not in Control', from a band in control letting their hair down. The constant smile of Cattermoul on bass reflects the audience’s joy, something he and Sanders don't forget to share as they face Amamiya on drums somewhat lonely at the back of the stage. And Jonny Sanders bounces up and down on synths as a metronome to those on the terraces. Then the night is over, after a "Thank you so much" the band leave the stage to beat even the most nifty audience member to the merchandise stall. Efficient to the end.
23 Floors Up
Fall in Time
Steam Train Girl
Not in Control