Public Service Broadcasting - Hammersmith Apollo
As this last date draws their UK tour to a close, and with the fantastic Palace as support, Public Service Broadcasting return to home turf with their blend of visual and aural spectacle to play a sold out Hammersmith Apollo. With their patented Introduction advising audience members to be mindful not to use their mobile phones followed by Bowie’s ‘Sound and Vision’, the band slowly take to the stage in support of their latest album Every Valley.
The stage is aptly decorated for the album tour with the band flanked by coal mine towers as they open with ‘Every Valley’. The stage is gradually illuminated by lamplight gracefully gliding from the rafters one at a time, and a hush descends over the crowd. It is this mix of awe and adoration that continues throughout their set which manages to fairly evenly spread between new album and back catalogue. One of the many highlights of the main set was a beautiful version of ‘They Gave Me A Lamp’ that drew the audience and left them spellbound. With superb versions of ‘The Other Side’, ‘Spitfire’, and a raucous ‘Go!’, the band leave the audience with ‘Lit Up’ still ringing in their ears.
Returning to the stage for their encore marks a first for the audience, frontman J. Wilgoose singing(!) as they play a captivating version of ‘You + Me’, before wrapping up with fan favourites ‘Gagarin’ replete with brass section dance routines and body popping cosmonauts, and ‘Everest’. The band leave the stage but not before they introduce a Welsh male voice choir to sing album closer ‘Take Me Home’ as the good attendees of Hammersmith became so quiet that you could hear a pin drop up to the moment until they exploded into applause, whoops, and demands of “more” from the choir.
Public Service Broadcasting are a consistently solid live band as their albums take on a new energy in the live environment, but they are starting to change. Reduced are the amount of sampled vocals played in between tracks, replaced by Wilgoose speaking to the audience directly. Speaking to him after the show, he said that they were “trying to grow up a bit”, maybe it is the more sombre yet joyous feel of Every Valley with it’s localised story, compared to The Race For Space, that’s prompted this? Either way, it is such a minor part of the band’s live set up that it makes no matter. Public Service Broadcasting - Inform. Educate. Entertain. Captivate.