@The Cluny, 4th May 2012
This is not a music review.
The night began with the two of us walking from my place in Jesmond, looking for The Cluny from a miniature mobile phone map and getting a bit lost anyway. (With only a bit of light beer in our belly, the confusion was entirely our fault.)
The walk took us onto the Byker Bridge, overlooking a small area that looked completely different from anywhere else in the city of Newcastle. What we saw looked somewhat like an ancient town square, with green grass and ruins. We took the stony steps down from the elevated streets past a pub, a farm with a greenhouse made of plastic bottles, and a small bridge over a dried up river. The scenery was refreshing and we felt as if we had entered a completely new city, a new world, if you’d like.
After spending a bit more time getting lost both around and inside The Cluny, we found where Team Me was going to perform and entered the dodgy room where a Guinness cost £3.30 through two doors with no sign at the end of the crowded dining area. Greeted with two friendly men, one with a nice top hat, we entered and waited for the show to begin.
The first two bands on the stage were two local young bands that filled the intimate room with great sounds, warming the audience up. The first band, Lilliput, gave us beautiful string serenades and sincere mourns in their voices, their sounds almost similar to that of Team Me. They had clever build-ups and talented musicians. Not a band member was ever not doing two things at once. Chased by Wolves, our second band’s filling sounds were somewhat more cynical than the first’s and had beats that got everyone moving along. The amazing combination of everyone’s talent paid off as a very hearty performance that could really fill you up inside.
After a short interval, Team Me took the small crowded stage as people began to get restless.
“Hello, we’re Team Me from Norway.”
And they started jumping up and down, perfectly leading all of us in, as the music started. The fun was easy and infectious.
Their joyous and dreamy collaboration of sounds seemed to cast over the audience with an odd effect rarely seen. I could almost see it lift everyone up and put us under some kind of childish spell.
Their turquoise hippie headbands, the colourful socks that covered ¼ of Marius’ pants, their Native American face paint, Elida’s bright red dress, the colours, the colours, the colours.
I felt like I was invited into someone’s playroom, full of wooden toys and miniature trains, where every toy ran on magic. Kids jumping up and down, while singing and creating musical noises purely from their own imagination.
Some people started approaching the stage and danced in a circle, arms clung together as they skipped like kids in a playground. Some sang, some requested songs. Some members of the band jumped down from the stage at various points of the night and joined the crowd.
It was the combination of their music, their performance, their lovely personality and humour, and all the beautiful colours present and imagined, that put me into an intoxicating state of joy. A wide smile permanent on my lips, I felt lykkelig—or blissful as the Norwegians say.
My heart broke when they announced their last song. The night felt way too short to be over. It was like business half finished.
People yelled and screamed encore, moremoremore, and names of some left-out songs. It was almost irresistible.
Team Me returned to the stage and received great delightful cheers when they agreed to play “one more song”. One of the gutsier fans requested “at least two” and got everyone’s hopes up.
They gave us Dear Sister and With My Hands Covering Both of My Eyes I Am Too Scared to Take a Look at You Now.
Knowing that that was our last chance to indulge in their music and knowing that we were lucky that we got that at all, we dove fearlessly into their sounds and it was epically mesmerising. I felt like a child being slowly tucked into bed and gifted with one more story, hoping it wouldn’t end but knowing that it would and grateful that it hadn’t earlier.
It was a great ending.
As people began to leave, I sulked that the night either went too fast or simply was too short.
We stopped by at the merchandise table near the front door and realised that the young man selling them was a band member. I went to congratulate him and it spun into a great conversation.
His yellow t-shirt soaked and his brown hair glistened with his own sweat, he looked as if he’d just had a taste of Britain’s great weather. He welcomed our enthusiasm with such friendly manners that it felt as if we were just talking with a classmate and nothing more.
He told us about where they’d been lately and where they were going next. He told us about their great experience blasting music in the Lancaster Library. He talked about how exciting and scary it was to be going for a gig in Japan. He told us about their thrilling night in Texas and the tour at an American records company. He talked about Norway, about Elverum, where they were from. He even directed me to another member who were responsible for all the great graphics for the band.
Being into all their visual elements, I ran right to him. Sitting on a tabletop in his maroon shirt, he shook my hand and asked for my name. And we talked, so casually it surprised me. He was incredibly open and shared with me all their experiences, hopes, emotions, and fears, while looking so sincerely at me with his bright round eyes.
They were real people, just like you and me, but with much more talent and courage.
We left the place at 1am, pockets full of recently purchased merchandise, belly full of ale, and mind full of—well, let’s just say fulfilled.
Team Me gave us a magical and memorable night of great music and personalities. We wish them well and look forward to their global success. And more visits to Newcastle upon Tyne.
Tusen takk og lykke til.