With ‘Sound and Vision’ playing through Liverpool Olympia, the crowd were eager for Public Service Broadcasting on Saturday evening.
Whereas previous albums have seen the art rock trio from London weave samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material into beautifully crafted guitar-laden electronica based upon themes of Space, Coalmining, and the Titanic. Their newest release, Bright Magic, although maintaining the all familiar PSB guitar-rock and use of electronics, uses the English language and samples sparingly, and instead takes us on a journey to Berlin.
The set kicked off with two of the lead tracks from this newest release, ‘Im Licht’ and ‘Der Rhythm der maschinen’, which features Bad Seeds/Einstürzende Neubauten veteran Blixa Bargeld.
The theatrics continued with the pounding drums and downwards pitch gliding of the trumpets in ‘The Pit’, portraying the bleak, dangerous conditions faced by the coal miners and giving a sense of the turmoil that was to be caused “Drilling out from their native rock, the foundations of the future” over emotive strings.
Berlin-based EERA was welcomed to the stage mid-set to add her ethereal voice to ‘Gib mir des Licht’ and ‘Blue Heaven.’ The cheers echoed through the introductory Krautrock guitar chords of Spitfire, which was followed by All Out, with images of protests, depicting the anger and despair felt at the closure of the mines, accompanying the striking heavy-metal guitars. The band certainly were taking us on an emotional rollercoaster.
The set finale featured two crowd-pleasers from second album ‘The Race for Space’, which highlights milestones in space exploration. Suspenseful track The Other Side, follows the communications between mission control and Apollo 8 on its orbit of the moon. When voice contact was received from the spacecraft, the music exploded victoriously, and the crowd cheered in celebration. This mission paved the way for the moon landing, the topic of Go! Which had the whole crowd throwing they arms into their air to the go/no go decision. It’s always a surreal atmosphere.
Charming frontman, J Willgoose Esq. displayed his appreciation to the cheering crowd by making use of his gameshow host voice over samples for the first time “Thank you very, very, very much… Liverpool!”. His stage attire, comprising of an all-white suit, bowtie and thick-rimmed glasses, almost made him look like a game show host!
‘People, Let’s Dance’ kicked off the encore, featuring Chemical Brothers-esque style moving men on the huge screens behind the band. Next, the band showed off their groovy choreography together with two dancing space men, for the jazz-fusion space journey of Yuri ‘Gagarin’. The evening came to a magnificent close with the uplifting, triumphal track ‘Everest’, completing the goosebump worthy, inspiring and gripping performance.