Now touring their third studio album Every Valley, Public Service Broadcasting have had plenty of time to establish what it is that they’re all about. For the benefit of the uninformed, PSB combine instrumental rock music with audio samples from old public information films to retell historical events. Their first album covers a range of topics, from the first expedition of Mount Everest to the creation of the Spitfire, their second details The Race for Space between America and the USSR in the 1960s, while Every Valley focuses on the history of Wales’ mining industry. Needless to say, as far as rock music is concerned, Public Service Broadcasting are walking on fairly untrodden ground.
If you’re not sure how this music might translate to a live environment, or you’re worried that it might be too much like a history lesson to be fun, you can put those fears to rest. PSB’s live show is backed by two large screens, showing the video footage that accompanies the audio clips featured in their music, and displaying live feeds from cameras pointed at the band members. Also, it helps that their music is dynamic, interesting, and they’re incredibly tight as a band.
Even if you aren’t actively interested in history, it’s hard to not to find yourself becoming engaged with it during a Public Service Broadcasting set. Everyone knows the outcome of the Apollo 8 mission, but that didn’t stop the crowd from letting out a huge cheer when the spacecraft emerged out from behind the moon. Or maybe you didn’t know the outcome; you’d probably find the whole thing even more enthralling, almost as if you were watching a film. Except that I’ve now ruined the ending for you, sorry about that.
Photos by Dan Hess.