Instrumental public information film mashers Public Service Broadcasting have shed light on a whole new way to experience live music. Piecing together clips from these films, space exploration amongst other themes, the London duo formed of J. Willgoose, Esq (string instruments) and Wrigglesworth (percussion) tactfully craft instrumental sounds, rhythms and beats to coincide with the images and sounds of the films shown across screens during their performances.
Touring once more, this time to more sold out crowds than ever before, the band took to a more unlikely venue in Sheffield, The Foundry, buried deep within Sheffield University’s Students Union. Making your way down the winding staircase, the mellow strums of a distant electric guitar could be heard as the humming of support act Smoke Fairies graced the stage with their calm and lulling harmonies. An already busy room greeted the act, all eagerly awaiting the main event.
Surfacing onstage after a short film which sarcastically commented on those members of the crowd who often guiltily clutch to their phones desperately trying to capture that almost certainly perfectly blurred image of the performance, laughs amongst the crowd set a pleasant mood for their arrival.
Slipping on stage and calmly making their way through their set instead of speaking to the crowd, a corny mischievous robotic voice mockingly interacted with the audience as it announced “It’s great to be back in…. Sheffield”, leaving a long enough pause to gather laughter almost as if someone was politely whispering the location into its ear.
Kicking back into their lengthy set the duo (with the addition of some added help) glided through songs greeted with cheers as they begun each one. Although with PSB their sound does not create by any means a chaotic atmosphere, at times throughout the night the audience almost remained transfixed on the stage, immersed into the film soundtracks and the tension created by looming drum beats and suspended chords. In particular “The Other Side”, which followed the journey of Apollo 8, engrossed the crowd as a mixture of silence and lightly strung guitar melodies and keyboard sounds filled the air as the crowd waited to hear the transmission from the spacecraft currently in orbit of the moon “we’ve acquired signal but no voice contact yet, standing by”. Creating an atmosphere which made it possible to image being inside the control room during such crucial moments in space travel history made the hairs stand on the back of your neck and was certainly an aspect of the performance that will remain memorable for quite some time.
Clever lighting lit up the room on several occasions, during “ROYGBIV” as a gritty voice repeatedly announced colours, as they illuminated the room in tune to Willgoose’s banjo plucking. Welcoming support act Smoke Fairies back onto stage for “Valentina”, their calming harmonies added something a little different to the band’s performance, hearing some singing for the first time.
Leaving the stage to an “old one”, the crowd were urged to unexpectedly “sing along” to “GO!”. The band returned after a quick outfit change into a “quite outstanding jacket”. The voice which had teased the crowd throughout the night reassured Willgoose was “still wearing corduroy trousers”, which saw the crowd laughing once more before the voice announced the audience would need to “Get on your dancing shoes”. Welcoming a sax, trombone and trumpet on stage for the epic “GAGARIN” , the upbeat and infectious groovy rhythm got the crowd dancing straight away, joined in the background by a dancing astronaut hopping around and shamefully attempting to replicate the absurd moves in the music video. A definite highlight of the night, “Yes, Yes, Yes” suggested the song was likewise enjoyed on stage.
Finishing their set on song “Everest”, dedicated to the recent Nepal Earthquake Appeal which has seen devastating effects, the band left the stage on a more serious note. A fulfilling set, the band certainly informed and educated but most importantly entertained.
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Review and Photos by Jacob Flannery |