Friday, 26 January 2018

Photos: Public Service Broadcasting @ The Academy, 24th Jan. 2018

Public Service Broadcasting Dublin The Academy

All Photos: Remy Connolly

(to start slideshow on PC, click on 1st photo)

Info: Shortly after the release of the their sophomore album The Race For Space in February 2015, I had the pleasure of both interviewing, and soon after seeing, London's Public Service Broadcasting at The Button Factory in Dublin. It was a memorable experience and I was lucky to be close to front of stage. On Wednesday night PSB returned to Dublin at The Academy for the first time since that 2015 show, with support from Belfast blues-rock supremo Pat Dam Smyth who has been based in London also for the last few years. Incidentally Smyth is currently working on a new album which will be the follow up to last year's brilliant Goodbye Berlin EP.

Pat Dam kicked off the evening sans band and you wouldn't really notice at times, solo he gets so into his set that you can't help but follow him right inside. It's disarmingly casual, but at the same time pulls your head and ears so thin they might snap, exuding the demeanour of a blues-rock legend that has surfaced from the past and is entirely comfortable in the moment. 

After his set I was making my way back to the front of the stage and one of the highlights of the evening happened. I love observing people act out their best and worst moments, a fairly gruff and bald gentleman with a Dublin accent somewhere between neutral and strong was having a good old whinge to his partner. "Things have changed so much (ah for fuck sake I thought), look at them all, fucking hipsters with beards everywhere who don't have a clue about music". To be fair, there were a lot of beards, but there are lots of beards everywhere nowadays, including my own, and there were lots of beards in the 1800's too, these things are cyclical. I felt bemused that he was so angry about beards when he had paid for a ticket to see a band he was obviously looking forward to seeing, beards can be an awful irritant however when you just want to enjoy a rare Wednesday evening in town so maybe he had a point. 

And so to the main attraction, Public Service Broadcasting, I've included a live performance video at the BBC Music Festival from 2015 to give a flavour of what unfolds at their shows. They were supreme yet again, with the focus on latest album Every Valley, being an historical ode to the Welsh mining community, the display footage managed to capture both the intense activity of the era but also in the eyes of the workers an almost foreboding knowledge of what was to come when their way of life would be swept from under them. Whilst such visuals in isolation can have an impact, they are vastly heightened when accompanied by carefully constructed musical pieces, and this is something PSB excel at. 

Where their previous albums dealt with themes that their fans would be aware of, such as the Second World War and the U.S. - Soviet rivalry to reach the moon, but may not necessarily be able to relate to on a personal level, Every Valley is a poignant mirror image of the turmoil many have experienced over the last decade. A Thatcherite devastation vs. a faceless 21st century devil. Your livelihood being snatched from you at the stroke of a brush. At times their shows elicit the early days of cinema, where an orchestra would play music below the screen to add drama to the unfolding scenes, and at others the electric guitar and drums just bang out a hypnotic reprise that you don't want to end. All in all Public Service Broadcasting aspire to create a unique live experience for their audience, and that is what makes attendance at their shows so rewarding. Below are a few photographs from Wednesday's concert.

1 comment:

  1. Really good description of what the show evoked for me! I was hoping I'd get to read something like this after running into you there ;)

    So all that was missing is some kind of beard/no-beard segregation...