I’ll begin briefly with the support act Palace; quite an interesting band in that they managed to provoke two different reactions from me. I did find them quite bland at times with one song, in particular, sounding like the generic country-tinged rock of The Eagles. On the other hand, there were a handful of songs such as Break the Silence and Bitter which were a lot more interesting. They reminded me at times of early Wild Beasts or Foals at their more melodic, which is no bad thing.
Public Service Broadcasting or PSB (not to be confused with the Pet Shop Boys) was originally a project for J. Willgoose Esq. He was joined on drums by Wrigglesworth and have since added a J F Abrams as a third member. They also featured a brass section – which was a little confusing seeing 5 or 6 people on stage as the last time a saw them, there were only 2.
PSB are touring in promotion of their third album Every Valley, a concept album based on the rise and fall of the mining in Wales. As with previous albums, their sound is a juxtaposition of post-punk guitars and electronica with vocal samples and stock documentary footage used to enhance the music.
An early highlight was The Pit from the new album, which actually had a mechanical and almost production-line feel to it – like the machinery used in coal mines. The guitar hooks on this song were particularly memorable.
They then ran through a few songs from their debut album with definitely highlighted their sense of fun, including Theme from PSB. For some of the newer songs, we did get a little explanation of the stories behind them. One the most interesting and inspiring of these was They Gave Me a Lamp, which was about women in Wales finding their political voices at the time of the miners’ strikes.
They closed off the main set with a couple of older songs including Go from second album The Race for Space, which, considering there isn’t a singer in the band managed to elicit call and response chants from the audience which resembled a traditional chorus.
For the encore, they managed to showcase many different styles; on All Out the snarling post-punk guitars came to the fore and the images accompanying it were of military marches, riots, and strikes that matched the aggression of the music.
Gagarin was a lot more light-hearted and featured the brass section doing a dance routine along with a pair of astronauts who joined for this song.
They ended on Everest which was the song of their that first made me fall in love with them. It might sound like a bit of a cliché, but PSB really are one of those bands that are, in my opinion, even better live than on record. They become an audio-visual experience and can claim to be a truly original band.