Review: Public Service Broadcasting, Queen’s Hall

“This one is an old one,” crackled the amused voice over the PA, in the scratchily metallic, faraway tones of an announcer from the early days of broadcasting.

And with that PSB followed up gig opener Sputnik with Signal 30, from 2013, showing their intention both to delve into their modest back catalogue and – in their own controlled, well-considered way – rock out at the sold-out Queen’s Hall.

Not everything is quite what it might first appear with PSB, which might be just how they like it. Who are J Willgoose Esq and Wrigglesworth, really? Are they as geeky as they like to appear? In fact, could anyone be?

What isn’t in doubt, though, is that they put on one hell of a show in Edinburgh. And it was fun.

The band’s drama-filled tunes were given extra impetus by a thumping bass and the kind of cleverly integrated visuals that are the obvious accompaniment to music written with vintage newsreel footage in mind.

Stacked televisions in front of the stage and two big screens behind the band showed the film of the songs, while somehow also featuring live footage of Willgoose and Wrigglesworth, along with sometime collaborator JF Abraham.

It was clever stuff, and it never palled.

Instruments were swapped, a three-man brass section appeared, played, then disappeared again.

A track from PSB’s November-released EP – Korolev, about the Soviet Union’s chief rocket designer – was played.

And classily, the band didn’t wait for an encore to play Go!, the much played single off last year’s The Race For Space album.

The brass boys came back for the encore – Gagarin from The Race For Space, and finally Everest. Terrific.

Words: Gareth Moore

Public Service Broadcasting played

Sputnik

Signal 30

Theme From PSB

Dig for Victory

Korolev

E.V.A.

New Dimensions in Sound

Night Mail

If War Should Come

Spitfire

The Other Side

Go!

Lit Up

Encore

Gagarin

Everest