Public Service Broadcasting


The night opens with a public service broadcast of our own. A light-hearted message about not using your phones as “the video and sound won’t be any good anyway”. I agree, enjoy the gig and don’t stick a phone in front of any other gig-goer’s view! Although I’m up in the lofty heights of the balcony this evening, feeling very VIP, so nothing could obscure my view. Hopefully no one will notice my hypocritical use of mobile technology to write these review notes.

The build-up starts, a string of mining lanterns hang in the mist that is carried across the stage. Toms and low brass notes rumble around the room as the voice recording introduces miners, as ‘kings of the underworld.’ I have not heard the new album yet, Every Valley, based on the Welsh mining industry and am actually quite glad as I can experience it as the full package. The blend of sound, film and light is what makes Public Service Broadcasting special to me, a multimedia extravaganza. It is an experience that I have previously only seen on video. It is very exciting to now live the experience.

Not all of tonight is based on their new album, as they throw in a number of tracks from their back catalogue. The album The Race For Space (my favourite) appears several times throughout the set, and includes some additions to the line-up, including a dancing spacemen for the song ‘The Other Side’. Each time a track from a previous album is played the mining lights are winched back up. The performance is smooth and there is little transition time. Though at times I think the performance could do with playing through a whole album, due to their thematic nature, almost like telling a story. But crowd pleasers are crowd pleasers and they please me so I can’t complain. I especially love the break in song during ‘The Other Side’ in which there is a floaty feel from the stage as the mascots’ dancing slows to a slow spacewalk. A great atmospheric effect before heading back into the groove and broadcasting discussions with ‘Euston’

Public Service Broadcasting have a variety of sounds and melodies in their arsenal. Some are uplifting and happy, reminiscent of the stage show Blue Man Group with happy percussion. Some are more dark, reminiscent of Russian Circles with booming guitars as huge shadows of frontman J Willgoose Esq span across the walls. This is created by the excellent light design by visual genius Mr B. There isn’t a huge amount of movement from the crowd, the majority of the set captures everybody in awe of the stunning show happening in front of us, but songs such as ‘Go’ and ‘Spitfire’ get a bit more crowd participation and fist pumping.

With a back catalogue taken from a diverse array of events, they have a fantastic range of dynamic music. Their set has been a ride through history. For an encore, they draw from their album Inform- Educate-Entertain. Finishing on the soaring track ‘Everest’, I am definitely inspired to find a late-night bookshop and start reading up on this fascinating adventurous subject matter. Their album title describes the experience in three words as well as any review.

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