Caerphilly Castle, Sat 6 July
Public Service Broadcasting are not like any other band you’ve ever seen. Intriguing, inventive and accomplished would be a good way to describe these alternative art-rockers, who play a variety of instruments, including banjo and vibraslap, and incorporate public information films, propaganda and archive television footage into their music. The arena [above] was full to the battlements and the evening kicked off with Cardiff’s Boy Azooga [below] and some heavy bass riffs reminiscent of Southern Death Cult. Once they’d ironed out the technical problems from their 45-minute set, they proved to be a great choice of support: anything lighter would have sunk without trace.
The main event began, fittingly, with a public service announcement about considerate mobile phone usage and the audience complied – for the most part. The stage was set, with a motorised pit wheel and Davy lamps lowered on wires; PSB opened with tracks from their album Every Valley, with the history of the mining industry playing on two screens in the background. The band was joined by various guest musicians including Haiku Salut, with the stage continually busy – blink and you’d miss something.
The evening livened up with Launch from PSB’s latest album White Star Liner, Everest and Gagarin, the latter embellished with dancing astronauts. Between old and new material, the four-piece revisited the valleys; when JF Abraham played the intro to Calon Lan on the flugelhorn, the audience couldn’t resist a few choruses and a round of “oggy, oggy, oggy”. The evening ended on a high with a bonus performance by Beaufort Male Voice Choir and a rendition of Take Me Home and Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.
Public Service Broadcasting have been around since 2010 and have amassed quite a following, with some fans travelling from as far as Scunthorpe to see the show. For this reviewer, it was a night of firsts: my first gig at Caerphilly Castle and first time seeing PSB perform. Neither disappointed and I left wanting more, which is always a good sign.
words LYNDA NASH photos JASPER WILKINS