Review: Public Service Broadcasting, UEA LCR, a band reaching for new heights
PUBLISHED: 08:49 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:03 16 October 2017
PSB have built a fearsome reputation as a live act and live footage of performers blended with the archive material transporting the band like time travellers into the historic events their music explores.
After Public Service Broadcasting’s gig at UEA a few punters, who had ignored an advisory message not to film the show, were playing back their shaky footage at the bus stop.
But no camera could ever capture the immersive audio-visual performance which took spectators on a journey through time and space.
Mining lamps descended over the auditorium glowing in a haze of dry ice as blue light cast pit wheels at either side of the stage in silhouette.
The sleepy intro to Every Valley, the band’s latest album, accompanied this magical opening, the music crescendoing with the growing light. Archive film across two screens brought a series of vignettes charting the rise and fall of Welsh mining towns to life.
All Out, which captures the fury of these communities abandoned by the government, was blasted out to distorted footage of riot police and urban squalor.
The visuals and lighting blurred the line between stage and audience. Live footage of performers blended with the archive material transporting the band like time travellers into the historic events their music explores.
They evoked wartime Britain with early tracks including Spitfire and took the audience into orbit around the moon with the Other Side from album The Race For Space. At the climax of Go! it felt like we were all in the NASA control room applauding a successful mission.
The band deftly switched between guitars, keyboards and other instruments during the tightly choreographed performance and were frequently backed by a brass section who delivered the roar of mining machinery in The Pit and added the funky notes to Gagarin while dancing with a spaceman.
Early track Everest closed the show, a fitting choice for a band reaching for new heights and taking their fans every step of the way.