Public Service Broadcasting with support from the Smoke Fairies at The Ironworks, Inverness, 1/5/2015. Review.
No strangers to Inverness, Public Service Broadcasting took to the Ironworks stage on May 1st for the second date of their UK album tour for ‘The Race for Space’ album which was released earlier this year in February.
The night begun with support from Sussex born band Smoke Fairies. Smoke Fairies are a melodic pop duet with clear Blues influences compromising of Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies. Accompanied by a three piece band, they took to the stage in sci-fi-ish matching silver dresses.
I would describe the band’s sound as a mixture of the husky pop femme sensations Haim and the slightly more edgy rock group Deap Vally. Their voices are beautifully melodic and swing into Bluesy territory at times but instrumentally tend to stay grounded in rock-pop.
The band played a wide range of material with a 9 piece set including tracks such as Hotel Room and songs from the 2014 album Wild Winters. With a well flowing setlist and minimal interaction with the crowd, the fairies certainly brought a feel of mystery to the venue.
After quite a lengthy changeover due to both bands having so much equipment and a side splitting video educating the audience on how to be respectful at concerts starring a cartoon character whose over tendency to take too many photographs at gigs leads to him being deeply hated and eventually his demise. We got the message. Public Service Broadcasting took to the stage.
To many peoples surprise four members walked on stage as opposed to the original two (J. Willgoose Esq and Wrigglesworth). The new and improved PSB, or should I say PSB^2, wowed the healthy sized audience with their newly improved stage production, wardrobe (now including sequins), banter and overall stage presence.
Due to the tour promoting the new album, The Race For Space, the setlist was obviously new-material biased but at the same time kept a good balance with tracks from their debut album Inform, Educate, Entertain and their EP, The War Room.
PSB made a name for themselves as an incredible live act from early on but their popularity has gone from strength to strength after The Race To Space reached no. 11 in the UK Albums Chart and no. 1 in the UK Independent Albums Charts.Not only did the album bring success but to commence the current tour the band played the National Space Centre giving the show an appropriate and fitting origin. As if their performance was not enough of an artistic statement encompassing music, visuals and technology they had to go and add another layer by launching their album in such a fitting location.
When introduced to the new members with PSB’s characteristic and hilarious automated voice, which is so well done that it can react to hecklers criticising the bands attire we learnt that a Mr B had joined the crew as a visual effects coordinator and J. F. Abrahams was playing bass along with percussion, keyboards and flugelhorn (not a trumpet, its different). These two new members added extra power and ‘oomf ‘to PSB’s performance who by the end had the audience wrapped around their finger.
An encore was undoubtedly forced out of them in which a dancing astronaut made a cheerful appearance and the band touchingly dedicated their closing song, Everest, to the Nepal earthquake victims.
On departure from the venue comments by audience members stating that they had not heard much about the band but had been blown away the performance were rife. In my opinion this epitomises PSB. A truly outstanding live act.
Many thanks to Sigi Whittle for his input on the article.