Gig review: Public Service Broadcasting at Leeds University Refectory

Public Service Broadcasting
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Once in a blue moon you will hear a tune on the radio that blows you sideways. The CDs are bought (no, not downloaded) and you are in love with the band for life.

This happened whilst ‘accidentally’ tuning into the Graham Norton Show on a Saturday morning a few months ago. Stand-up comedian Eddie Byrne was asked for his choice of record – Go by Public Service Broadcasting.

What followed was a combination of clips from the mission control of an Apollo landing with music that shifted and soared. Wow.

And so this has led to the Leeds University Refectory on a wet and windy Sunday night.

PBS live at last following the cancellation of the Leeds gig last November. It was worth the wait.

This London-based duo, with the pseudonyms of J Wilgoose esq. (guitar, banjo among other things) and Wrigglesworth (drums, keyboards etc), have carved out a niche in a crowded musical world with samples of, yes, public service information films, wielding them into music ranging from rock to ambient to even a touch of folk.

It’s hard to categorise but it works every time, in the studio and on the stage.

Judging by the packed, diverse crowd on Sunday they are not being courted just by the younger end of the market, ages ranged from 16 to 60.

Tracks from their albums Inform-Educate-Entertain and The Race for Space worked seamlessly live accompanied by background videos (the screens were a bit small though!). They also had their very own Sputnik on stage.

It was all fleshed out by a brass ensemble with perhaps the encore Gargarin proving the highlight of the night. It’s also good to see a band that don’t take themselves too seriously with a ‘continuity announcer’ sounding like C3PO providing some of the funniest,self-deprecating links ever heard at a concert.

I could not work out whether it was a band member or a recording. Clever, however it was done.

PBS are bound for big things – that needs to be broadcast loud and clear.

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