The ever imaginative Public Service Broadcasting last night graced Bristol’s Colston Hall with their innovative AV samples and rolling rhythms.
PSB fused instrumental melodies with stunning visuals and audio from public information films. These films serve as a perfect vocal alternative and create a unique sound that separates them from any other instrumental group.
Warming up the stage for PSB was a London based Alt Rock group called Palace *Photo Above). With warming vocals and emotive instrumental work, they are the perfect warm up for PSB. Palace are different enough to stand out on their own merit, but have enough in common with PSB not to be jarring as a complete evening show. Palace used punching vocals with an excellent use of slide guitar giving an American Blues vibe to their set.
The sublime guitar work had a technically intricate formula, with elements of post rock influence. It would be interesting to see them linger on some tracks to give them time to really delve into those mid track sections. They have the technical ability to become a sensational group, and as PSB said at the end of their own set, it would not surprise if they were the ones headlining Colston Hall in the near future.
Anyone who has followed Public Service Broadcasting is more than aware of there technically tight, and extremely imaginative shows and this performance once again pushed the boundaries.
Their previous and perhaps best known work The Race for Space (notably the popular Go!) used the backdrop of the US vs USSR space race to create energy filled atmosphere from rich visuals and audio sampling of NASA Engineers.
Public Service Broadcastings latest work sees them take influence from closer to home. The band is now situated in Southern Wales and the landscape and history of the area has clearly given them a glut of new concepts and ideas, the name of the new album Every Valley clearly reflecting this.
Songs like They Gave Me A gas Lamp directly refers to the Welsh Miners strikes and the struggles that surrounded the lives of people all over Wales in the mid 1980. This emotive and beautiful song shows PSBs amazing ability to capture the sound and feel of a time whilst still sounding contemporary and original. The perfect synthesis of nostalgia and originality.
The lighting, visuals and stage directions complemented the audio to perfection. This was particularly evident during Night Mail which brought the WH Auden words to life with multi screen visuals and driving rhythm that really evoked the force of the steam train. A unique celebration of humanities achievements new and old.
A great addition to their set was an appearance by the front man from the Manic Street Preachers James Dean Bradfield for the track Turn No More. This was yet again a glimpse into how versatile this band truly are.
Other instrumental bands rely on their lighting display and backing visuals to create atmosphere but PSB have taken this to new levels. They really went the extra mile to create a performance worthy of a sold out venue. A truly immersive and intense experience more akin to a theatrical performance than a gig. If you get the chance to catch Public Service Broadcasting don’t hesitate, their tickets sell out fast for good reason.
Words And Photographs by Michael Brumby: You can follow Michael on Facebook @michaelbrumbyphotography or you can see more photos by Michael Here