MAY 8TH was one hell of a night for live music in Glasgow, Carl Barat played the H&M store, Lucy Rose in Oran Mor, Mike Skinner and Robert Harvey’s The D.O.T were at King Tuts and The Temperance Movement at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s – and amongst it all were London-duo Public Service Broadcasting who were in town playing at the 02 ABC 2. With only a few tickets left on the door to sell, you could tell there’s a lot of anticipation surrounding this bands set.

The stage set-up is impressive; a giant 1950’s TV is set-up at the back of the stage, with three TV sets either side of the P.A speakers. As the first song starts, an image of a mountain range appears on the back screen in black and white and a vocal sample begins to speak to the crowd- capturing everyone’s full attention.

For a band that uses synths and laptops, it was very surprising to catch sight of a banjo, as the band finished there were a couple of seconds of silence before a massive round of applause and cheers. The crowd clearly at awe from the few minutes they had just experienced.

London can take it starts with an air-raid siren that bellows from one end of the room to the other. As the guitar and drums start to build up in the song, the crowd begin to sway definitely feeling the groove. This song sets the war theme of the evening, a great original and defiant track.

Like most of the crowd, I had completely engrossed myself on what was happening onstage. PSB had everyone in their palm. You could honestly believe you are in an old black and white film at times.

By the time the new single Signal 30 kicks in, you get caught out by the angry and intense sounding song which is in contrast to what was played before. Perfect then, that the screens feature visuals including some old American race cars- working so well it all feels a bit mental.

A pre-recorded programmed vocal says ‘Thank you, we’ve been really looking forward to coming back to Glasgow’ in the style of a 1950’s BBC broadcast, which receives a massive cheer of approval from the packed crowd.

Next track If War Should Come introduces an eerie synth which gets the track started. This totally takes over your mind-set to a “what if” feeling as you look at the scared people wondering the streets of 1939’s London on the screen. The song builds up with a soft guitar pick until it gets to the climax of an angry distorted guitar. It then all quietens down with the final words “this country is at war” as an aeroplane noise screeches through the P.A.

The track that brought the group to the public’s attention Spitfire starts, “the birds fly better than we do” lyrics come flying out the speakers and the crowd can’t help but dance. With each passing second, a new instrument is added to the song, making it sound bigger and better. Fans love this song as a record but if the reaction is anything to go by, love it even more live and with the fitting images on TV screens- it sets the mood perfectly.

The beautiful and up-beat song Everest is next, which is the first time in the set when the backdrop changes from black and white images into colour. The images of a group of people climbing the great mountain give this moment in the gig a monumental feel.

The soundtracks for each of the films that are shown on the screen have been so perfect it’s strange to think we’ve not really seen it being done this way before, or at least people haven’t bought into it until now. Before the end of the show the band bring us into the colour TV broadcast which really focuses on the vibrant shades. The music then celebrates a mixture of the banjo leading the song with its main riff, backed by a sound made by a synth and a drum that keeps you moving with the introduction for the first time of the cow bell.

Public Service Broadcasting are a band that seem to have no real boundaries, after all they don’t have vocals- but they could easily add that into the mix in a later album. Clearly instruments aren’t an issue and they know how to take their audience on a journey by creating a sound and visual story.

It should be more than interesting to see them at midnight on a Saturday in a field in Dumfries and Galloway. Wickerman festival is next for these guys and you can only imagine what atmosphere they will create this on a massive stage.

By Neal Mcharg