Public Service Broadcasting - Nottingham Rock City

by Lawrence Poole Rating:7 Release Date:2013-04-06

If the Ladybird book series, which peppered many a childhood, were to bring out a series for grown-up leisure pursuits, then an educational manual on gig etiquette would surely be on South London collective Public Service Broadcasting’s reading list.

Straight from the get-go, they went for the jugglers of any numpties present who were considering partaking in the annoying past time of zealously recording and taking pictures of the show at every available opportunity to the detriment of everyone else. They sought to secretly embarrass rather than publicly lambast though, using a charming and amusing cartoon skit on the screens which portrayed such culprits as akin to a character called Geoffrey who ends up alienating his friends and family with his needless obsession with documenting the gig.

And it was this level of attention to detail and planning to all aspects of their re-arranged tour date to promote latest long-player, The Race For Space.

With a stage show masterminded by their visuals expert, Mr B, including a giant disco ball doubling as Sputnik, towers of 1950s televisions acting as a retro alternative to the usual side of stage screens and a kaleidoscope of lighting, which harked back to everything from 2001 Space Odyssey to War Of The Worlds.

Even lynchpin J. Willgoose Esq, nattily dressed in tweed, corduroy and a dickie bow, had the between song patter on message with a range of pre-recorded retorts to deal with light-hearted heckles ‘Simmer Down’ and a bemused ‘Erm’ proving particularly effective.

After getting off to a flyer with a scorching rendition of Sputnik, the set did lose its way a little though, through no fault of the band’s. Their visuals and lighting was clearly well-thought out and, at times utterly spectacular, but so hand in hand did it go with their cannon of public information video-infused music, it was unfortunate the dynamics of Rock City didn’t do it justice.

The venue’s low ceiling meant a lot of the messages being relayed on the screen with lost in translation (perhaps utilising the venues screens at the sides of the stage would have helped?), which was a real shame as when everything did come together for a clearly studious and on message crowd (Nottingham’s answer to the I.T Crowd!), it worked a treat.

Night Mail and If War Should Come, taken from an earlier release built steadily to a crescendo like a spin class set, while the storming Go! sparked mass chanting as the emphatic Apollo mission-inspired chorus kicked.

Returning to the stage for the ode to the first man in space, Gagarin, Willgoose Esq had disco-ed up with a sparkly jacket and bow-tie (although insisting he was still wearing cord trousers), and he was joined by an inspired brass trio and a dancing, giddy astronaut.

PSB have obviously put as much thought into their stage show as they have their intoxicating, thought-provoking and genre-bending music which tips a hat to everyone from Kraftwerk to Orbital and even a band with a shared acronym, the Pet Shop Boys.

t would be great to see them in an arena, which does justice to the whole package, Mission to Nottingham Albert Hall maybe next time lads?

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