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Telescreens Brought Rock to Bowery Ballroom

From performing at bars for a handful of people to performing at Bowery Ballroom for 500 people, Telescreens, the NYC rock band, is only getting bigger with every show. Telescreens includes members Jackson Hamm (lead and guitar), Austin Brenner (bass), Josiah Valerius (keyboard and synths), and Oliver Graf (drums). A band that has been making music since 2019 and went from releasing their debut album, The Return, in 2020, an electronic alternative rock album, to releasing their newest rock EP, Stare Wide, has consistently remained loved by many of their regulars and newcomers.

Despite the EP only coming out the day before their long-awaited Bowery Ballroom show, no one hesitated while shouting every word. Telescreens has been building up their fanbase for years, from performing every week to at least once a month at Mercury Lounge and the Bitter End, amounting to many performances and getting their names out there. Their setlist showcased various songs from their now-released EP, Stare Wide, giving everyone the digital privilege of listening to the songs they have loved for months. Telescreens never fails to deliver transcendental sets and performances, no matter how many people are in the audience or where they are performing.

Telescreens started the set with an eruption of energy as everyone in the audience chanted, "Telescreens, Telescreens," Hamm added to this excitement by screaming back. They started playing loud, and people wasted no time to start a mosh (It would not be a Telescreens show if there wasn't a mosh) the relationship between the band and the audience is dynamic, and you see it in the comfort they have together, effortlessly demonstrating their commitment to music and one another. Hamm can be seen conducting Graff at times, with Brenner and Valerious following along. No words are needed, they’ve become fluent in their own dynamics it’s almost mesmerizing. Oliver and Jackson have spoken about how, during the pandemic, both would practice for five to seven hours a day; many sessions consisted of blood, sweat, tears, and screams oozing out of their practice room.

Hamm said, "We are trying to carry the torch of rock and roll; we believe in this as a lifestyle, as a religion, as a movement that people can access euphoria through," This mentality is evident in the way they carry themselves at their show; in many instances, there are moments where Hamm reaches to the sky and brings it down, as if he is giving the audience something of high power. Even in simpler acts, such as opening the mosh, a moment where my friend turned to look at me and said, "It looks like he is parting the sea.", Telescreens emphasized this euphoria by creating an ambiance through their songs, such as Commotion, where Hamm started away from the mic and took a minute to himself. We are to take time and be present in the moment with the music; we cannot escape the music. There was not a moment of silence throughout the set, even when they were tuning their instruments. Graff took these moments and had two drum solos where he shredded as everyone was in awe. We are to absorb the music and allow it to enter our minds and bodies, and once the set finishes, we hope it never ends.

Telescreens aims to have music that transcends, and their live performances accomplish this as well. Similar to their digital music, they feed off of the concept of New York City and the people who live here. They have stated that New York City and its fast-paced lifestyle influence how they make their music. They thrive off of the energy their fans exude. Every show, the audience feels as if they are having an out-of-body experience.

Throughout, they played songs from their latest release, like Phone Booth and Commotion, and ended their set with songs from their debut album, Melancholy Dreaming and I Remember Dying. Right after they played I Remember Dying, people were chanting, "One more song, one more song," They could not terminate all the good high energy, so they played a final song, where members of Sid Simon and The Darlings joined. Two members join the stage as hype men and stage divers, with their saxophonists joining along with the song and the lead singer singing alongside Hamm.

As they hit the last note, Hamm said, "Rock and roll lives in New York City," and it does so because of what Telescreens is manifesting.

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