Manchester’s Soup Kitchen is – as someone quite accurately described it on Saturday – “pretentiously scruffy”. It’s the kind of place where they can charge over £4 for a drink but can’t afford to screw locks back onto the toilet doors. Yet despite that, and it’s somewhat toilet-y odor, it’s up there with some of my favourite venues. Small, loud venues will always be my favourite; ones that remind me that I should probably start wearing earplugs but simultaneously remind me exactly why I don’t. And it’s these ones that are perfectly suited to bands like Telegram.
A mix of glam and punk, of glitter and leather, Telegram look like a band and, from the offset, they act like one too. There’s a sense of drive and determination when they play, injected with a healthy dose of cool and just the right amount of crowd interaction. They’re not going to be silent and shut off, but they’ll also refrain from pointless rambling – after all with music so good, you’re not really that fussed about talking.
Their set seemed to pass in a flash: one minute they were swaggering on to the stage, within seconds the room had erupted into a sort of mosh pit/dancefloor and before I knew it Matt Saunders was announcing their last song (though granted they actually had two left). Regardless, ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ was certainly true in Telegram’s case. Not giving up early, the band continued to a DJ set at Night & Day Café and though the choice of songs can’t be questioned, it remains clear that what Telegram do best is their own sound. I’ll admit I was late on the Telegram bandwagon, but I’m well and truly on it now.