Review: Teleman @ Chalk

Teleman took to the stage at Chalk to conclude a UK tour that comes in anticipation of an upcoming five track EP, Sweet Morning. The band brings an enthusiasm to both studio and stage that give their indie pop a playful nature and a well deserved popularity.

With several recordings now under their belts, they come equipped with a range of fan favourites punctuated with new material. The setlist drew several tracks from their last album of 2018, Family of Aliens, as well as an assortment from almost all of their other studio records, and three of five tracks from Sweet Morning. 

Since their last tour, Teleman saw a significant change in the departure of keyboard player Jonny Sanders. Without him, I had approached the gig with a curious anticipation of how their back catalogue would be handled. Bassist Pete Cattermoul has adopted an adept hybrid role; some songs such as Fall in Time saw Pete confidently commanding the keyboard with assurance, 23 Floors Up saw him stick solely to his bass with a recorded keyboard track accompanying. When performing Cactus and Dusseldorf, he switched seamlessly between both instruments with aplomb. 

With the band’s new structure, Teleman seems more interested in evolving their live performances; embracing seemingly impromptu innovation and creativity. When performing songs such as Cactus and Submarine Life, the band strayed far enough away from the studio recordings that at times they could almost have been considered new songs on the theme of the originals. Their deft handling of these adaptations created a welcome sense of difference between the live and recorded versions.

The undeniably smooth looking drummer Hiro Amamiya took the beat of Cristina and others to a heavier place, Pete took the use of FX in songs such as Submarine Life to intriguing new levels, and frontman Thomas Sanders let his guitar playing regularly explore new improvisations. In every scenario, the crowd was clear in expressing its enjoyment, and the band could certainly be seen to recognise it.

Just as with their last visit to Brighton, the title of Song for a Seagull was mentioned before its performance, the local significance of which provoked another joyful reaction from the crowd.

The evening saw other spikes of excitement from the audience, such as when Thomas withdrew a melodica for the EP’s titular song Sweet Morning, or when a persistent audience member requested their favourite song and was playfully denied by the band.

Thomas’ unique voice and endlessly quotable lyrics, Hiro’s slick and satisfying drumming, and Pete’s infectious energy seen at every performance, give Teleman a stage presence truly deserving of the word ‘memorable’.

Supporting Teleman on this tour were electronic duo Baba Ali who played an impressive 30 minutes set to the slowly growing audience.

Teleman (with support from Baba Ali)
Chalk, Brighton | 24 October 2021
Words by Jon Mulhern
Photos by Gili Dailes