image– SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – 

Over ten mock TVs are set up around the stage of Sound Control tonight, each hidden beneath vintage drapery, giving away any and all clues that this gig is going to be so much more than just an audio experience.

Surfacing the unearthed propaganda material of the yesteryears, Public Service Broadcasting are on a mission to teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future. But before you are quick to question this clever idea, you should know that this isn’t your stereotypical, experimental art school hodgepodge.

Backed by one giant vintage television set, drummer Wrigglesworth takes the stage and is followed by tweeded, bow-tie wearing front man J Willgoose Esq. who with a quirky little wave, begins with the titled first track from the new album, Inform – Educate – Entertain. The gig has barely begun and we can already see that Esq. is a busy man on stage, keeping on queue by fiddling with hypnotic synthesizers and guitars, befriended by an audio sample confessing that there is “a bright new era dawning”.

Complimented by the stark smoke, searchlights and poetic overlay of “London raises her head, shakes the debris of the night from her hair and takes stock of the damage done”, the second track from their EP The War Room shadows the electro thought-pop of the ultra weird propaganda film of the same name, ‘London Can Take It.’ The black and white footage of military figures simultaneously flash, pumping the war-time images into our thought banks for a more psychological visit after the show.

“It’s great, sensational, terrific… what is it?” ‘New Dimensions In Sound’ teaches us the beginnings of a new invention called Living Stereo, weaving the wavelengths in and out of spirals on the complimentary footage projected onto the screens. Roaring with real-time musicianship, keeping this multi-talented lad company on stage, the headphone-friendly ‘Signal 30’ and personal favourite of the night uses archival samples from a US film discussing the terrors of dangerous driving and is followed by the banjo driven ‘Theme From PSB’.

After finishing the ever so postal ‘Night Mail’, Wilgoose Esq. ushers in a break from playing to say “Hello, how are you doing Manchester?” with a little technologic dialogue from his laptop, garnering playful laughs from the crowd. Keeping spirits up with ‘Qomolangma’, Esq. continues to impress the crowd with the monochromatic banjo-treat ‘ROGBIV’, teaching us how “the entire world will stream into our living rooms with the velocity of light”.

It’s easy to see why people are paying attention to PSB.  In comes a fascinating new band with samples on par with instrumentals, leading to a hyper-physical, visually spectacular arrangement: the stage bathed with honeycomb lights and video screens at one point projecting an image of the audience taken from a retro video camera. The band’s future seems to be signposted in the right direction and the message is clear: Public Service Broadcasting are here to stay. May their future educational endeavors continue.

Brit Jean

I'm known as Gigs Editor over here at Silent Radio HQ. I've been music blogging and writing in Manchester for the past few years after graduating with a Literature degree back home in Canada. Never have I experienced a city quite like Manchester - so many great gigs and so little time! In 2014 I started an Independent Record label, Blak Hand Records with my best mate, and we aim to put out some of our favourite garage rock and psychedelic artists from both Liverpool and Manchester. We're always looking for contributors so if you love music and writing, get in touch with us at Silent Radio! x