Words Glenn Blomfield
The Powerstation really had a treat, a great night with English band Public Service Broadcasting. A concert that is to be experienced, soaked in, bathe in its sonic and visual aura. Straight away, I was conjured away to some magical world of Pink Floyd, and 80s electronica, a la Kraftwerk. Music that is rich in its fantasy soundscape, like a soundtrack to an unknown movie, a lucid memory or dream.
The London three-piece, seemed like clean cut tie wearing guys while one with a bow tie. Since arriving on the scene in 2009, their eclectic Electronica style music signalled an interesting mix making them unique on the scene. For example, Electronica beats playing alongside a banjo thanks to J. Willgoose Esq, or even a trumpet complements of band member JF Abraham. The electric guitar rocked away, an impressive wallpaper of sounds to behold.
The backdrop of drums, lead guitarist, keyboardist, and mixer desk were mesmerising to say the least. Behind the band, a screen with visual cinematic images mainly black and white, an ode to historical news reel footage. The vocals a mix of vintage news presenters, news broadcaster’s voices from long ago, and sounds collated from other strange mysterious sources. These are the orators, the only vocal source for the band’s experimental sound.
The visual montage transitioning from coal mining footage, workers, moving towards early stages of space travel, adding to the show’s vibe. So, when describing the music, you’re listening to instrumental tracks, when in conjunction with the visual media playing behind the band. The music is at times reminiscent of movie soundtracks like Axel F from Beverly Hills Cop, with elements of 80s Synth Pop like Tangerine Dream or OMD.
The encore song to the evenings proceedings was close to home for us Kiwis, called Everest, which starred our very own Sir Edmund Hillary, detailing his epic quest with Tenzing Norgay conquering Mt Everest. Historical film footage playing in the background of this amazing feat, shot up around the room heightened the songs effect. A rather touching finale, the crowd showing their gratitude for a great evening.
Taking me back to the beginning of my review, there is certainly an experience to be had. One that combined mystical nostalgia, and modern Electronica Pop in such a unique manner. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, and that’s possibly the best way to explain it. So, search and find, Spotify their vibe, and take in the experience that ‘Public Service. Broadcasting’ has to offer.