Live Review: Telegram at The Harley, Sheffield

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Photograph by Duncan Stafford

Telegram have just released their self-titled debut album and not a moment too soon have headed out on an extensive UK tour. This tour almost felt like one for the fans who’ve stuck with Telegram for nearly three years, visiting an array of towns that would usually get overlooked by most bands.

A strobe light is turned on at the right hand side of the stage and as the band emerge, half looking like the cast of the Young Ones and half looking like extras from The Mighty Boosh, Telegram kick things off with their almost self-titled song ‘Telegramme’. The crowd observe tentatively as lead Matt Saunders leans in, breathing down members of the audience’s neck, given the intimacy of the venue and intensity of the first song. He asks the crowd to come closer and then the atmosphere lifts. ‘Rule Number One’ brilliantly makes audience members forget where they are and begin to rock out like it’s the 1970s as they channel their inner Mark Bolan from T-Rex.

‘Follow’ is an obvious highlight with members of the crowd trying desperately to keep up with the pace in which Matt spits the lyrics out. With only an album of material to choose from it was expected that we might hear a cover or two. We were treated to a B-side of theirs; a cover of Brian Eno’s – ‘Needles In the Camel’s Eye’ which isn’t surprising given that half of Telegram used to be in a Roxy Music tribute band.

’Taffy Come Home’, ‘Inside/Outside’ and ‘Aeons’ are other key highlights in the bands set and show Telegram have perfected their live sound and mirrored it onto their debut beautifully. After a set of just under an hour, the strobe light still damaging the retinas of the bassist Oli’s eyes, Matt raises a toast to the crowd saying “Stick around for a drink with us” and then they close their set the same way they close their album, with the track ‘Folly’.