Public Service Broadcasting Usher Hall Edinburgh April 12th 2017
Ok let’s cut to the chase here. In Public Service Broadcasting we have a band of, basically unheralded as far as most radio stations here in the UK are concerned, fairly geeky musicians playing a very unique brand of music. So how was it that last night the venue, stripped of the seats downstairs was almost completely full of avid fans enjoying a spectacular show? I frankly don’t have the answer except that I know they have put in a huge amount of ground work gigging and building up a swell of popular support. Even the demographics of the audience were unique. There were families, students, office workers straight from the job, lovers leaning on each others shoulders or holding hands plus old rockers displaying a myriad of old time T-shirts. All were completely captivated by an ensemble display of technical and pure musicianship. Now comes the difficult to explain bit. Just what is this music? Well if you take certain elements of say Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk or Soft Cell etc strip out all the vocals leaving a mix of instrumental art or prog rock, electronica, dance, trance and other influences and we get a very rough reference guide. Now overlay the music with audio spoken drop-in files of extracts from historical moments in history whilst visually enhancing the whole with film clips of those events and we are there. Oh I forgot to say you have to have a wonderful lighting rig as well. Ok are you hanging in there with me? I hope so because it really is worth doing so. The performance last night, part of The Edinburgh International Science Festival, centred on the playing of the entire album The Race For Space released originally in 2015. As you can now begin to imagine the music was overlaid with Russian and NASA transcriptions / dialogue from those early missions away from planet Earth. So we hear the voices of Yuri Gagarin, Jim Lovell, Sergei Korolev, Gene Kranz, Valentina Tereshkova, Neil Armstrong et al on different tracks. Away from the exploration of space, tracks played included Night Mail based around the WH Auden poem and the brilliant 1936 film documentary. Everest which makes use of the Conquest Of Everest film from 1953 charting Hillary and Norgay’s ascent of the mountain. The years encapsulating WW2 featured London Can Take It and the terrific Spitfire complete with original dialogue from The First Of The Few starring Leslie Howard as R.J. Mitchell designer of the plane. PSB are really a duo consisting of J Wildgoose Esq. and Wrigglesworth augmented in concert regularly by Mr B and JF Abraham. Tonight’s aural and visual feast had those four talents supplemented by the string section of Mr McFall’s Chamber, a brass section (sorry I didn’t catch their collective name) and members of The National Youth Choir Of Scotland. At various points I counted up to twenty six musicians on stage. This was an absolutely extraordinary body of music and a great evening. Do check them out as I doubt if you would fail to be impressed.
Graeme Scott K107FM