Public Service Broadcasting
February 20, 2014
Inform – Educate – Entertain is not only the name of the first album from Public Service Broadcasting, but also seems to be the mission of the London-based duo. And that they did. The band’s backdrop/screen is a continuous reel of archival news clips and some “educational” information which was probably shown in schools forever ago – which is really propaganda. Those were the days. But the band takes this material and adds their own music to the pieces. While it might seem that it wouldn’t or shouldn’t work, it does. And I did learn (thanks to a guy from England standing next to me), that the first image is what the Public Broadcasting Service used to use before their announcements.The duo consists of Wrigglesworth on drums and the ever dapper J. Willgoose, Esq. on everything else (as is pointed out very cheekily). Willgoose dresses in a bowtie and horn-rimmed glasses and looks like a lawyer of yesteryears. He seems to be the educator of the band while Wrigglesworth keeps it very entertaining with on-going drum beats — sometimes speeding it up and creating a more dance-friendly song.
Some of the images that seemed to stick out were soldiers during wartime marching down the streets with crowds out to cheer them on (reminding me of Hitler’s Nazi Germany). The band seemed to have the perfect song to accompany it, keeping it more down-beat. Willgoose tends to use a lot of banjos and guitars in the mix of the songs and the blends work out just perfectly. The ending of Sir Edmund Hillary climbing Mt. Everest was perfect with a more dance-y track that had some of the audience really breaking a sweat. It was upbeat and seemed to signify a victory to the end of the show.
This was nothing but pure original brilliance. I cannot recommend seeing this band enough as they will delightfully surprise you for an hour or so taking you on an informative musical journey through English history. While the band never utters a word on stage, the band does have their computer ‘voice’ (not siri, mind you) who does add quips throughout the show and one of the total highlights to hear him say ‘thank you. (long pause) San Francisco’. And just like that, the crowd bursts out in cheers and applause.The opener, Kiev, played their first show ever in San Francisco. It was rather hard to believe as they’re just our ‘neighbors’ down in the O.C. (Orange County). They were surprised to not get boos from saying that, but then again, half the crowd was probably their family/friends. So much for the SF/LA rivalry.
The band was surprisingly insanely loud. It was hard to figure out where the reverberations were coming from (as theyre far from a solid guitar band), but it seems that from the dueling keyboards and the guitars in between it made for a lot of sound (or else the mix was really bad). The stage was shaking and you had to step back as you could feel it pulsate through your body.
It was a bit too loud, as would have loved to hear the saxophone in several of their songs which got drowned out. The band was quite good and as it got towards the end, their music had more of a dance-electronic feel to it. They definitely ended the show on a high note and are worth checking out again.