Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) played at Ingensteds November 22nd, as part of the tour for their most recent album «Every Valley».
Photo: Richard Ashton
It was my first time attending a gig at this venue, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. It is a comfortable space with good acoustics, and all-around very suitable for the PSB concert.
J. Willgoose (guitar, banjo, samples, keyboards – among others), Wrigglesworth (drums and electronic instruments, and more) and J.F. Abraham (bass, flugelhorn, and others); three talented multi-instrumentalists cramped together on a small stage, provided the audience with an intimate performance. Though considering the shyness of the public – leaving a lot of space between themselves and the band – comfortable is maybe a more precise description. It was pleasant and easy to enjoy their performance from the beginning to the end: a simple structure, 12 songs in total.
Ambivalence towards modernity
The music was great and it felt like the first seven songs passed by in the blink of an eye.
As a band PSB appears to be inspired by – and melancholic about – the technological revolution of the late modernity period, concerns regarding industrialization, planes, computers, machines and rockets. They also tend to explore the consequences on labour, travels, and the opportunities aforementioned themes provide. All of their songs touch upon these topics in one-way or the other.
Interestingly, PSB is at the same time a purely instrumental band that depends on a postmodern technology to deliver their message. They frequently use sampled dialogues taken from movies, commercials, documentaries and radio programs from the mid- 20th century, and more recently recordings of voices of vocalists from other bands.
The band kicked off the concert with the song The Pit, and featured songs from all of their three studio albums. During the band’s performance, continuous images were projected on the screen behind them, showing cuts taken from movies and documentaries with references to their songs. Spitfire was accompanied by images and sounds from the movie The First of the Few (1942), whilst Progress sampled the voice of Tracyanne Campbell from Camera Obscura, repeating devotedly “I believe in progress”.
During the show, the three talented musicians kept changing instruments, playing two, three and even four instruments each during a single song. The music was great and it felt like the first seven songs passed by in the blink of an eye, including songs from all their three original albums.
Though impeccably musically, the band’s interaction with the public was limited despite their closeness to the audience. Having a well rehearsed act, they appeared to want to stick to the script, making it a bit less personal than what the venue would have allowed for. However, the audience seemed to be there for the music rather than for a show, listening carefully and calmly rather than dancing and moving around. The concertgoers were however more than happy to comply when J.F. Abraham, decided to break the barrier with the crowd and ask them to clap along.
After ten songs the band officially announced an encore, without actually taking a break between that and the main performance. I guess they just do it as a formality or as a way to avoid being asked for more. After the two audience favourites Gagarin and Everest, the band wrapped up and left, leaving behind a farewell message on the screen:
«Thanks for being with us this evening. We hope that in some small way we have been able to to add to your pleasure, comfort and relaxation».
Public Service Broadcasting @ Ingensteds: 8/10
People Will Always Need Coal
Theme From PSB
Go to the Road
Elfstedentocht Part Two
They Gave Me a Lamp
The Other Side