"...the deadpan delivery of the sampled audio commentary adding to the soothing effect, the packed house respectfully silent, presumably preoccupied with digesting the sensory overload..."
Three months ago Public Service Broadcasting were forced to reschedule their eagerly anticipated Leeds University Refectory gig, leaving oneself truly utterly bereft, having been chomping at the bit to see them in the flesh, knocked out by the twin assault of their otherworldly ‘The Race For Space’ album combined with the gripping footage from their BBC 6 music festival performance in Newcastle.
Tonight, following sterling work by ‘All We Are’(a band who first surprised and delighted yours truly 12 months ago at the Heavenly Records 25th birthday weekender), Mr Willgoose (guitars, vicarious vocals) and Wrigglesworth (drums) finally appear, joined by Mr B (set design and electronica) and JF Abraham (bass).
We’re also faced with an audio visual spectacle to rival Floyd, twin stacks of old TV sets on each corner of the stage framing a giant ‘Sputnik’, the star of the show in the in the centre, as the unmistakable opening track, named after the aforementioned satellite, eerily redolent of Jarre or Moroder in their pomp, washes over everyone, the TV sets also flickering into life.
The driving guitar of ‘Signal 30’ followed by the trance inducing ‘Night Mail’, both tracks from PSB’s startlingly original ‘Inform Educate and Entertain’ follow, the deadpan delivery of the sampled audio commentary adding to the soothing effect, the packed house respectfully silent, presumably preoccupied with digesting the sensory overload.
The banter in between songs is cleverly put together using pre-set recordings, sounding suspiciously like the voice of David Mitchell as the frontman never utters a word to anyone except his guitar technician. ‘Korolev’ has the audience gazing to the heavens once more, before averting their gazes suddenly floorwards in a ‘Dig for Victory’….. and then it’s the exquisite ‘Valentina’ rounded off perfectly with a memorable brass coda.
Three further older tracks fly by namely, ‘Spitfire’ ‘If War Should Come’ and ‘ROYGBIV’ the latter drenching everything in multi-coloured light and the sound of Deliverance-era banjo as the main set concludes with another triplet, this time from the business end of ‘The Race for Space’ as we take in retro-futuristic ‘The Other Side’, building deliciously until the stage lights disappear completely, signifying the period of radio silence endured by Apollo 8 on the far side of the moon. The exhilarating ‘Go’ treats Sputnik to a smiley face before ‘Tomorrow’ rounds things off first time around after precisely 80 minutes, after which a now silver jacketed Willgoose et al return for a pumping version of 'Gagarin' complete with 3 piece brass section, finally allowing ‘Everest’ to bring things to a climactic peak.
Good things come to those who wait.
Words - Mike Price