Breaking this long blog fast to briefly wax lyrical about Sunday’s gig action, Public Service Broadcasting at Brixton Academy.
For the uninitiated, PSB take audio (and, when playing live, visuals) from old newsreels and archive footage and set it to music. They’ve released two terrific albums – Inform-Educate-Entertain (2012), featuring archival material from everything from the building of the first Spitfire to the ascent of Everest, and this year’s The Race For Space, which brings together original NASA and Soviet cosmonaut recordings with political speeches and more.
To be honest, I could waste half a page of words on how the band had every person in the room transfixed from the moment the narrator announced their presence. How an eerie tremor rippled through the audience as air raid sirens went off and Blitz-like searchlights scanned the venue (‘London Can Take It’). How we all held our breath as Apollo 8 went behind the moon, and cheered like fools, like our lives depended on it, like we were actually there, when it successfully emerged (‘The Other Side’). How this half-Kiwi felt some patriotic pride for the first time in perhaps ever when Hillary’s gnarled mug filled the screens en route to knocking the bastard off (‘Everest‘), before snow filled the Academy and everyone smiled themselves silly.
Postscript: This was the first gig I’d been to since the Bataclan attacks and there was a slight but definite sense of unease among the crowd, especially where we were, at the very back of the hall. At one point a minor scuffle broke out with a security guard at the door and every head in the vicinity turned to see what it was – and kept looking back over their shoulder for the next five minutes. What went on in that concert hall in Paris simply doesn’t bear thinking about.