Image Credit: Alex Williams
Playing to a sold-out gig, especially in a venue the size of the O2 Academy is never an easy feat, but the show got off to a flying start with the novel idea of a short cartoon detailing the plight of a character named Geoffrey who had become universally hated after taking a video on his mobile phone at a concert. The video was received to rapturous laughter and as a result I think many people decided to heed this advice and the vibe of the concert was improved considerably.
Public Service Broadcasting then took centre stage and opened with tension builder ‘Sputnik’ from their latest album ‘The Race for Space’ for which the audience was in silent awe, the climax of which culminating in the rise of a metallic, glowing Sputnik probe which served as a captivating stage light for the remainder of the show.
However their light show did not stop there, as per usual the band employed the use of several retro TV’s displaying old films to help the audience understand the concept of each song as well as some magical fairy lights designed to look like stars which were used during quiet, emotive songs such as ‘The Other Side’.
The setlist masterfully weaved between old favourites from their first album, ‘Inform – Educate – Entertain‘ and EPs ‘The War Room’ & ‘Elfstedentocht’ with new songs from ‘The Race for Space’, my personal favourites being the electric versions of Spitfire, Go!, Gargarin and Everest for which they were accompanied by a surprise brass band who added a big, exciting sound to the show.
Even if you were to put aside all of the music, this was genuinely one of the most entertaining and funny shows that I have seen in a long while. For a band so artistic in their execution and direction, and who, in fact, do not even speak during the show (instead reliant on pre-recorded samples), they have a brilliant sense of humour with the crowd frequently breaking out in hysterics whether it be a gentle poke of fun at their own music, or replying to a jeering audience member.
All in all I have to submit that this was a near-if-not flawless concert full of great music, entertainment, and lighting performed by an incredibly tight band who had very thoughtfully and creatively put the show together and were fully deserving of this sold-out gig.
Oh, and to top things off they had a dancing astronaut…
Words: Alex Williams