Live: Public Service Broadcasting
By Will Ellis
Why can’t we have more bands like Public Service Broadcasting? This is the question you ponder whilst watching this band. It’s not because they’ve got a particularly amazing sound (though it’s certainly not hard on the ears). It’s not even because they’ve got a particularly enigmatic front man (with the lead singer relying on a sample board to provide a back and forth with the audience). It’s because their entire performance can be summed up as saying “sod what everyone else is doing, we want to try something different”. Rather than subscribe to the overdone 4 piece rock band these guys have taken an idea and run with it. Namely the concept of sampling public service broadcasts to create songs that sound like nothing you have ever really listened to before.
The band starts its performance with a hilarious animated short, warning of the dangers of devoting to much time at a gig to taking photos and pictures (with the protagonist dying unfortunately as a direct result of his love of blurred videos of bands). This idea is extended when the band continuously present the visuals that they have drawn their samples from, with continuous clips of public service broadcasts being shown. Couple this with their beautifully crafted set designs and corny audience banter (that comes from the sampling board as a robotic voice) and you have a band whose eccentricity seeps from their very being.
Featuring guest performances by Smoke Fairies, providing backing vocals on ‘Valentina’, and a brass section for new single ‘Gagarin’, the band have a live show that is very well put together. With such grand concepts being introduced, Public Service Broadcasting are clearly a band that has ideas bigger than the venues they’re playing, but if they keep providing great performances perhaps it won’t stay that way for much longer.