Teleman @ Cambridge Junction 23/04/2019 Review

There is nothing better than a show at an old school music venue on a school night. We were looking forward to catching the second date in the short Teleman Tour. Kane and myself turned up early to grab an interview with the charismatic four piece, while the support act, Uh, were performing their soundcheck. We were surprised that the usual queues at The Junction were not forming, but put it down to people getting a bite to eat before the show.

The Junction is a great venue for getting close up to the action. It is purpose built on the old cattle market site and holds a capacity of 850 people. The acoustics are always good and it is basically a square space with a small stage against one wall, the mixing desk normally against the opposing wall, and the rest of the dark space for the crowd. Small bars either side mean you can get cold drinks without missing the action. It’s also very well set up for people with disabilities with helpful staff on hand, so it is pretty much all that a music venue should be.

The venue was slowly filling up when the support band, Uh, took to the stage. A male and female duo, Uh announced that they were going to start with meditation. They then went on to play a hypnotic electronica song with spoken lyrics. Their set contained various songs of a similar ilk, which at least got the crowd swaying. It was all in all very ‘Cambridge’.

Once they had completed the stage was bathed in blue with the customary smoke slowly filling the area. We noticed that the venue was now full, and our first fears that it was going to be a quiet night were unfounded. The very eclectic crowd waited patiently until the appearance of the main act was signalled by the stage plunging into darkness and silence from the amps. A heavy bassline signalled a start to the proceedings and the stage was engulfed in a red hue as Teleman took to their positions on the stage. The unmistakable synth intro of ‘Fun Destruction’ rang out as the cheers from the crowd were dying down. The crowd really started grooving to ‘Family Of Aliens’, the title track of Teleman’s new album.

The setlist was always going to have a fair share of numbers from their new album, but Teleman mixed it up a bit with tracks from their previous two albums and some from their EPs. As Tom had told us in our interview, they also had some fun with the live numbers, with more instrumental interludes, where all the members of the band could show off their musical skills. They like to keep their shows simple, to let the music do its talking. The lights were subtle and fairly static, except for some elements of strobing during songs like ‘Cactus’ and the interaction with the audience was fairly minimal. In fact it was not until the end of ‘Repeater’, five songs in that Tom said ‘It’s nice to be back in Cambridge.’

It was obvious that the band like to jam in a live environment and like to play with sound. ‘Submarine Life’ was full of distortion, but also had Tom playing a tambourine and the band clearly enjoyed this number, as did the crowd. Pete Cattermole put down his bass at one stage and swapped places with Jonny Saunders. Tom proclaimed that if they were swapping over they were trying something new and said ‘That’s exciting isn’t it?’ The crowd responded with a ‘WOOHOO’. Now Pete and Jonny were on synths, accompanied with Hiro’s simple percussion as they preformed ‘Sea Of Wine’, a song that really showcases Tom’s vocals.

It was after this that we were treated to an insight into the Rock N Roll lifestyle of Teleman on tour. They had, had a nice day at the Botanical Gardens, but being the Rock N Roll Rebels they are they had broken in! Well when I say broken in they said they had just walked in really! This drew a lone ‘Good on Ya’ from one of the fans.

We were treated to a lot of numbers from ‘Family of Aliens’ in the first two thirds of the set, but then Teleman ramped things up with songs from their first album and EPs such as ‘Strange Combination’, ‘Not In Control’ and ‘Cristina’, the latter two being a surprise as they tend to be songs in the encore. The crowd had been moving more and more and by the end of ‘Song For A Seagull’ it was a writhing organic mass from the front of the stage to the back of the venue. This ramped up to a fenzy during the crowd pleasing ‘Not In Control’. This is normally a good time to exit stage left and leave the crowd wanting more, which is exactly what the band did. A drum machine played like the ticking of some unseen clock, and simple white lighting shone on the, now, empty stage.

Tom came onto the stage on his own for the first song of the encore. With a simple spot on him he performed a delightfully stripped down version of ‘Nights On Earth’. The show had seemed to flash by and there was only one song that could now finish off the night. Jonny, Pete and Hiro joined Tom on stage and ‘Dusseldorf’ capped the night. With a heavy drumbeat, hand clapping, everyone signing in unison and the whole place jumping, that is the perfect way to end a cheeky show on a school night.

Review by Tony Creek

Photos by Kane Howie

 

Interview with Teleman at Cambridge Junction

Interview by Tony Creek

Photos by Kane Howie

Thomas Sanders, took some time out to talk to us ahead of the Teleman show at The Cambridge Junction on the 23rd April. As their support band, Uh, were running through their souncheck, we adjourned to the salubrious surroundings of the car park, to talk about their latest album, musical direction and the difference between touring in Europe and the UK amongst other things.

Kane stole my first question when he was shooting a few pictures, so this is not your first time in Cambridge then?

No we’ve played here, I do not know how many times. We have played quite a few headline shows over the years and with other bands. In fact I remember playing cricket in this car park with The Maccabees. We have played smaller venues in Cambridge too. We have played the Portland Arms at least twice.

Your latest album is entitled Family of Aliens. Does this represent you as a band?

Yeah, to an extent. I don’t want to speak for everyone in the band, but sometimes it is a kind of feeling of being a bit detached about everything that is going on around you, and you kind of feel, where do you fit in all this? It is often hard to relate to the stuff that is happening in the world, like politically. You assume that the majority of people are on the same planet as you, and then you realise that there are people living on a completely different planet. You start to question where you belong, where they belong, where do you all fit in?

The new album seems to have a different sound to the other two.

Yeah it does have a different flavour. Each time we go into the studio, we try and push the boundaries a bit further and be a bit more playful. As a writer I have moved away from the guitar quite a lot. Just because I got a bit bored playing the guitar all the time. I still love it and play it in the shows. We do not want all our songs to be focused around the guitar. In fact a lot of our new songs,on what will be our fourth record don’t really have any guitar in. We may have gone to far.

So more synth based?

Yeah, and just anything really. I have been writing on the piano a lot which I really enjoy. Trying to not let yourself get tied down to traditional habits. The way I have been writing my whole life has always been the same.

It is a conscious decision to move then?

Yeah it is definitely. I like to challenge myself. I kind of come from an indie and Britpop background. That was the music that I loved when I was a kind. Those are about the verse and the chorus, a very formulaic structure. Then the second chorus a double chorus and then you get your middle 8. For years I thought this is how you have to write a song and it got so ingrained that I really struggled to move away from that formulae. I guess it is the same with anything you do, not just music. In any creative process you can get in this groove of habit that can be difficult to break. So I have been enjoying writing to one groove that doesn’t change.

I am not talking about more recent contemporary music that is lute based. Songs like Iggy Pop’s The Passenger, doesn’t change, its just one riff for the whole song and it just gets better and better. You don’t get bored, and it is not until someone points out that you realise there are no chord changes. Some Fleetwood Mac songs are the same. A couple of their songs only have a couple of chords, and they are such great songs, that you don’t even notice.

There is beauty in the simplicity then?

Yeah and it can be so hypnotic about hearing the same thing again and again, and if you are loving it for 4 minutes, why change?

What are your influences, you mentioned Britpop?

Britpop is what I grew up on, but I would never call it an influence or a conscious influence on what I am doing now. I am not really aware of anything that is influencing me. I have been listening to some New Order recently and I really admire the way they interweave guitar into music where you wouldn’t really expect guitar to come in. Like music driven by drum machines and synths, it’s quite a fine art. It often sounds quite awkward when you try and fit in a guitar into music that is focussed around electronic music. So that’s quite a good lesson to be learnt from those guys.

You have just got back from Europe. What were the crowds like there?

Europe is very different. It is a very different experience touring Europe. On some levels it is much more enjoyable. The hospitality is great and you are looked after better. A lot of the time the people in the towns you play in genuinely appreciate that you have come to their town. They are really made up. In the UK we have an over saturated music scene. I do not mean that in a negative way. Any band you want to see, you know that they will playing in a town near you soon. The competition is high, and the standard in venues is often very low. There is no government funding, or very little that I know of.

A lot of smaller venues, are shutting down aren’t they?

Yeah exactly, for various reasons. But when you play in France, or you play in Holland, the government is putting money into venues across the country and they are astounding, like beautiful places too play in and there is definitely a difference. There is something about playing to a UK crowd that is very special though. It’s much more raw and there is a higher level of energy in the room, I have never really found that in Europe.

So what can we expect from one of your shows?

There’s going to be a lot of energy and there will be material from all of our albums. We kind of rework some of our songs to give them a more interesting twist for live. We don’t really like our songs to sound like they do on the record. I am always a bit disappointed when I go and see a band and it sounds like I have just put a CD on. I could just that at home. It is really nice when you get another angle at a live show I think. We try and make sure that everyone has a unique experience whether they know our songs or not and that everyone has a great time.

Green Man 2015 Lineup expands with forty new acts

First up, we are thrilled to announce ‘Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor’ will be bringing the party to the Mountain Stage on the Friday night. Atomic Bomb! celebrates the music of enigmatic Nigerian synth-funk pioneer William Onyeabor and is performed by the Atomic Bomb! band featuring a constantly revolving collective of internationally acclaimed musicians.
 
Making a welcome return to Green Man this August are Villagers – with the Black Mountains as your backdrop, where better to take in Conor’s poetic and
wistful alternative folk?
 
Plus… Patrick Watson brings his energetic pop, rich orchestration, and spine-tingling lyrical musings to Green Man.  Joining him are staggering, multi-layered Brooklyn three-piece The Antlers; the legendary Tom Robinson Band; festival favourites Teleman; trippy danceable falsetto melody makers All We Are and a massive bunch more.
 
We are also delighted to welcome Meic Stevens, the Welsh singer-songwriter often fondly referred to as the ‘Welsh Dylan’! 
 
Our inimitable festival atmosphere has always left Green Man guests with hazy, happy memories, and this year will be no exception. Experienced vibe-setters Chai Wallahs are delivering the goods with a heady mix of live acts and DJs from around the globe – including afrofunk nine-piece Jungle By NightDizraeli & The Small GodsBirth of Joy and psychedelic jazz quartet Syd Arthur

Stay tuned for more acts coming very soon (including our yet to be revealed Thursday night headliner) and don’t forget to buy tickets to join us for what’s shaping up to be the party of the summer.
 

New additions in full: Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeobor, Villagers, Patrick Watson, The Antlers, Teleman, All We Are, Meic Stevens, Black Yaya, Tom Robinson Band, Midland, Colorama, C Duncan, Landshapes, Hannah Lou Clark, Rozi Plain, Vok, Aurora, Anna B Savage, Deep Throat Choir, Chelou, Benedict Benjamin, Declan McKenna, Toby Hay, Emily Davies, Palenco, Jungle By Night, Dizraeli & The Small Gods, Syd Arthur, Birth of Joy, Stuff, Fingathing, Low Leaf, Cocos Lovers, Loyle Carner, The Moulettes, Will Varley, Moneyshot & Cheeba, Sam Brookes, Sola Rosa, Bombs, Gringo Ska, Gypsies of Bohemia