Tag Archive | "Public Service Broadcasting"

Public Service Broadcasting – Nottingham Rock City (October 21, 2017)

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Public Service Broadcasting – Nottingham Rock City (October 21, 2017)

Posted on 23 October 2017 by John Haylock

The popularity of Public Service Broadcasting grows exponentially, rather like one of the graphs on the visual projection screens behind them on stage.

From very humble cash strapped beginnings in 2009, they now command a small South American country’s bank balance to bring you an EVENT, rather than the budget constrained show of yore.

Psb4

The cardboard televisions and the cheaply constructed sets are now a thing of the past.  They now embrace a George Lucas approach to live performances.

Once merely a duo they have now mutated into the population of a small town in Bedfordshire.

Lasers, strobes, dancing white space suited astronauts, a brass ensemble, special guests and non-stop films all bringing their music to life.

It is difficult to comprehend the journey the two heroes of Public Service Broadcasting,  the sensibly named J Willgoose esq and drummer Wigglesworth, embarked upon all those years ago.

They have gone from small crowds of bewildered onlookers via a mindblowing set at Glastonbury in 2013 to this – a sold out tour in 2018. They deserve it. Their music is tremendously effective, cleverly interweaving movie and documentary dialogue with tasty instrumental tunes.

Psb2

They also now have a considerable back catalogue to draw upon. But they start with selections from the new album Every Valley. This is a concept piece based upon the trials, tribulations and plight of Welsh coal mining communities back in the day.

The subject matter, despite being very moving, worthy and historically interesting doesn’t lend itself well to a rock show, After all, there is only so much black and white footage of Welsh coal miners struggling to survive economic desperation that you can take.

But never mind there’s always the Spacerace to freak out to, with footage of rockets and explosions and dynamic guitar riffs, married to Kraftwerkian keyboard funkiness.

The set then veers sharp left into the oncoming path of Sir John Betjeman with a fantastic rendition of Night Mail.

Then into what most consider their most rocking song Spitfire. In in an ideal world this would be our new national anthem.

The addition of a three-man brass army to Public Service Broadcasting on stage is most welcome. At times it’s not unlike James Brown’s backing band playing with New Order.

One regret was the absence of the Margaret Thatcher footage they played back in the summer to accompany one of the tracks from the new album.  It had the entire crowd booing and swearing at her image.

Three members of Haiku Salut join the band for a lovely version of They Gave Me A Lamp.

In addition, Go! was total overload great – a real techno frenzy of lights, action and men in dickie bows.

Lit up, the one that includes snippets of Thomas Woodroofe’s infamous incoherent report of a passing naval flotilla from Portland in 1937 whilst completely pissed, was a hoot.

While for the encore they gave us the traditional closer, Everest, with its beautiful floating melody swirling around our buzzing heads.

Where to next for our intrepid explorers? The centre of the Earth or the centre of the galaxy?

Tune in next time for more thrilling adventures in sound and space!

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes

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The Flaming Lips and Friends – Birmingham 02 Academy (Aug 12, 2017)

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The Flaming Lips and Friends – Birmingham 02 Academy (Aug 12, 2017)

Posted on 14 August 2017 by John Haylock

It has been at least two months since my last dispatch from the Flaming Lips tour, so this latest review is well overdue!

On that occasion it was a mad night in Manchester, tonight a visit to the not very car friendly Birmingham (whose city motto appears to be ‘road closed’) is called for.

The astrological signs were perfect.

Virgo was in Uranus, there was a lunatic in the Whitehouse and it was the height of the hemorrhoids meteor shower. The conditions were ripe for some psychedelic shenanigans with The Flaming Lips.

Bearded Jesus lookalike and all round groovy guy, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, is treated like the messiah.

“We love you,” shout the faithful as he prepares the band for orbital insertion. The stage is set for another acid pantomime – where’s the evil giant pink robot? He’s behind you!

The keyboard intro for the opening number, Race for the Prize, now surpasses the five minute mark as it builds the tension. We space cadets are ready and primed then BAM! The academy explodes into a multi coloured explosion of light and confetti as this track kicks off the gig in a blitz of ecstatic sing-a-long joy.

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For the next ninety minutes we scream like teenage girls at a Beatles gig. We laugh at the budget unicorn as it makes its wobbly way around the crowd, Wayne astride it laughing and singing.

Wayne gets in the inflatable hamster ball for a cover of Bowies Space Oddity. Two giant eyeballs on legs go-go dance either side of the stage and we sing happy birthday to a girl called May. I then witness J Wilgoose from Public Service Broadcasting hanging off the balcony laughing and shouting down at Coyne on the unicorn.

I look around and a girl who has never seen them before is grinning from ear to ear, a complete stranger kisses me during A Spoonful Weighs A Ton, and How? from the new album reduces me to an air punching crying lunatic.

Wayne Coyne

Wayne Coyne

It’s all in a days work for these guys. But every time it’s special and unique – an almost spiritual occasion and the camaraderie at a Flaming Lips gig is like nothing I have ever witnessed.

You will leave with new Facebook friends, a camera full of wonderful memories and a feeling of optimism that verges on the obscene.

Then they do Do You Realize. As the massed happy throng sing this desolate yet beautiful song at the top of their knackered voices the band send out telepathic vibes of universal love to send us on our way. They then disappear back to whatever planet they come from.

The Flaming Lips ‘ support tonight came from Amber Run (don’t worry, not the Home Secretary Amber Rudd), who are a Nottingham band of fine distinction.

They play epic rock tunes that would make Springsteen jealous and have a frontman in Joe Keough who looks like Neil Young circa Tonight’s the Night. He sings like a fucked up angel and is quite the best vocalist I’ve heard for ages.

Their tunes are memorable and the execution riveting.

At one point Joe mentions they were on the point of packing it all in, seeing no money and no girls they contemplated calling it a day but judging by the crowds vociferous and appreciative reaction this should be considered a criminal act.

Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting

As for Public Service Broadcasting, what can you say about a band who have been into space, piloted a Spitfire climbed a mountain and now descended into a Welsh mine. The band is now fleshed out with an extra guitarist and three guys on brass, one of whom thinks he’s in the James Brown band.

They look like teachers in a 1970s school staff room, All suits and ties, but they really rock. With a simple but effective back projection of images and cracking, albeit difficult to pigeonhole, tunes they are a must see/must hear innovative live experience.

Right, now how do we get back on the M6?

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes

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Together the People (Preston Park, Brighton, 5th and 6th September 2015)

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Together the People (Preston Park, Brighton, 5th and 6th September 2015)

Posted on 15 September 2015 by Nic Newman

The long awaited return of Brighton to the urban music festival scene finally came to an end with the inaugural offering from Together The People, a two-day event hosted in Brighton’s Preston and Park. Our intrepid reporters selflessly left their home and crossed one busy road to bring you all the highlights they could squeeze into an acceptable length article.

Preston Park is no stranger to public and private events, having already presented Brighton Pride and a Thai Food Festival in the weeks previous to Together The People, but we were initially taken aback by the modest size of the festival vs the ticket price. Still, mighty oaks and all that.

Access and entry was well organised and by the time we were through the slightly superfluous crowd chicane, the sunny space was laid out before us down the gently sloping grass and we were quickly able to get to grips with the music stages and tents TTP had to offer.

First up, and with a £5 pint of beer in hand, we headed to the small acoustic tent (more of a gazebo) to catch the acoustic guitar wizardry of Jye Whitman. Armed with a ton of skill and a beanie, Jye Whitman served up refreshing a portion of up-tempo acoustic tunes and songs that made a nice change from the usual earnest (and slightly dreary) output from the usual acoustic stage.

Jye Whitman

Jye Whitman

Cheered along by this, and with a cup of tea and slice of cake, we headed to watch the end of Lucy-Spraggen-off-the-X-Factors set, chock-a-block with attempted audience participation numbers and wait for Ghostpoet to take the main stage.

Lucy Spraggen

Lucy Spraggen

With three albums under his belt, Ghostpoet has come a long way from his self-produced days and has collected a tight and professional band along the way to back him up and provide a foundation to build his melancholy stories of modern living. Opening with tracks from his new album Shedding Skin, the skies briefly darkened to accompany the musical the atmosphere while Ghostpoet closed his set with the very excellent single, Liiines.

Ghostpoet

Ghostpoet

As the afternoon moved along and grass was flattened by picnic blankets and arses we looked forward to the arrival of everyone’s favourite Bolshevik balladeer, Mr. Billy Bragg, and what urban music festival would be complete without him? But it’s not the reliable renditions of old favourites like New England and Sexuality that really impresses us about Billy Bragg, but his unrelenting political optimism and faith in his fellow man.

Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg

Maybe it’s this dedication to an uncynical attitude that makes the arrival of old Brighton favourites, The Levellers, on the stage less cheesy than it might have been to the jaded music fan. The sun was shining, the jigs were up-tempo and the delivery was as enthusiastic as it ever was. To not bop a bit was not an option.

The Levellers

The Levellers

Before the main event of the day came around we were able to catch the lion’s share of local super group, Brakes, thanks to a day of well-planned and well-maintained schedules. Formed by members of other local talents like British Sea Power and the Electric Soft Parade, Brakes fired out a volley of frenetic and deranged power-pop tunes like Porcupine or Pineapple? and All Night Disco Party to their core of loyal fans, and still managed to line up room for their more accessible country-leaning songs. These reviewers were particularly thrilled to hear Brakes cover of Camper Van Beethoven’s 1986 cult classic, Shut Us Down.

Brakes

Brakes

To bring day one to a close, festival favourites and Cardiff’s finest Super Furry Animals take the stage with an unassuming modesty during the intro to Slow Life that quickly leaves the audience with the peculiar certainty that this stage was built for this very moment. Resembling a Power Ranger taking a break from his decorating, Gruff Rhys and the gang segue through a list of greatest hits that include (Drawing) Rings Around the World, Do or Die and Hello Sunshine. Despite a slightly stodgy middle, Super Furry Animals baked a crowd pleasing song pie of well crafted furry hits and a crust of Juxtaposed With U and Golden Retriever that they eventually served to the audience on an extended platter of The Man Don’t Give a Fuck to make their playout ending and encore that would have to scores of mop-haired children who’d been running around the bottom half of the audience something to sing to their parents on the way home.

Super Furry Animals

Super Furry Animals

Day two arrived hot on the heels of day one and provided a clearer and sunnier early September day than before, the perfect festival weather that seemed to have failed to coax in the disappointing number of Sunday attendees.

Regardless of the low turnout, we headed off to the smaller BIMM stage to catch space over-filling enthusiasm Astrid’s Tea Party who belted out their three piece songs despite (or possibly because of) the audience-lite reception.

Big Dada signed Roots Manuva laid out his blend of hip hop dub across the main stage audience like warm blanket of summertime goodness and everything was right and good in the world – a sentiment echoed from the acoustic stage across the other side of the park by Tiago’s nostalgia-tinged songs and stories of growing up in Portugal.

Roots Manuva

Roots Manuva

The first surprise of day two came from another local Brighton talent who have been making a reputation on Soundcloud, Kudu Blue on the second stage. This was our first experience of the band, and their slick and soulful post-triphop proved to be a real delight to behold. Kudu Blue combine beautiful ambient layers of guitar textures and synth loops across a foundation of deep bass and crisp syncopated rhythms, polished off with a smooth, natural vocal that glues them all together. Take a moment to check out the video for their song Bones  and hear for yourself.

Kuda Blue

Kuda Blue

Things only get better when Public Service Broadcasting and a homemade sputnik take control of the main stage and spread instrumental joy and delight throughout the crowd. I’m not sure why anyone would want to, but it’s hard not to like them and their happiness and pleasure in what they do is infectious. Tracks like Theme From PSB, Spitfire, Go! and trumpet-tastic Gregarin provide the party vibe that any audience hungrily eats up like a festival burrito. We hope that TTP carries on in the future and are able to do something about the noise bleed between stages; some of PSB’s atmospheric moments were drowned out by nearby stages. However PSB provided one of the best performances of the weekend and could (even should) have headlined day two.

Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting

It seems fitting that such a new event might want an established act to lend it some history, and there aren’t many acts about today with the history of Martha Reeves & The Vandellas who graced the stage with the kind of authority you get after six decades of performing.

Martha Reeves

Martha Reeves

We couldn’t shake the feeling however that after Public Service Broadcasting, the party was already winding down, a sentiment shared by Luke Sital-Singh as he closed the second day on the second stage with stark and intimate versions of songs like Still from his new EP The Brakeneck Speed of Tomorrow and Nothing Stays the Same from The Fire Inside that sound like music for a Monday morning. “Depressedon Park…” he quips. Highly recommend catching Sital-Singh live, his connection to his audience through raw vocal performance and warm banter, definitely won over the last of the weekends revellers.

Luke Sital-Singh

Luke Sital-Singh

Finally the two day festival is brought to a close by Swedish singer songwriter superstar Jose Gonzalez as the September air chills the now straggling audience. Included in his set were some of his well-loved cover versions including Kylie Minogue’s Hand on Your Heart alongside material from his new album Vestiges and Claws as well as the odd Junip track thrown in for good measure, but it somehow didn’t quite cut the proverbial mustard. We are fans of all things Jose Gonzalez and Junip, but we can’t help feeling that this was the wrong choice to end the day. The beauty and intimacy of Gonzalez’s songs were simply lost in this setting and we headed home feeling chilly and serious.

Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez

Hats off to the organisers for producing such a well-managed event with a rich and varied line-up and opportunities to showcase so much up and coming talents. Together The People champions local arts, small business and community issues. We hope this festival has the opportunity to grow in size and offerings, whilst keeping costs accessible to a wider audience. If it does, we’ll definitely be back for more burritos and beats.

TTP end

By Lisa McDonnell & Nic Newman

See more of Nic’s pictures from the festival on our Flickr page.

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Green Man Festival – Glanusk Park, Brecon Beacons (August 20 -23, 2015)

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Green Man Festival – Glanusk Park, Brecon Beacons (August 20 -23, 2015)

Posted on 25 August 2015 by Joe

Heeding the advice of  The Pet Shop Boys we Go West toward beautiful Wales, the land of the chronic vowel syndrome, crap sheep jokes and where drizzle is the default weather setting. To be precise we are off to the Brecon Beacons, where the charming Green Man Festival shelters beneath the green skirted panoramic grandeur of The Black Mountain.

Now celebrating an incredible 13th year, the word is out and this annual freakfest is now one of the must go to festivals on the circuit. As ever, we worry about the weather and the possible consequences of trenchfoot, the withdrawal charges from the onsite cash machines and the possible names for our pub quiz team on the Saturday.

Mud
On previous memorable occasions at this festival I’ve seen grown men weep (well me anyway) at startling performances from the likes of Roy Harper, The Archie Bronson Outfit, Flaming Lips, Teeth of theSsea, Josh T Pearson and numerous others. This year’s line up once again boasts some of the most mouth watering and highly anticipated acts of any current festival doing the rounds in 2015.

Friday

We could go see some groovy French underground movie, or go for a ride on the big wheel, or go see a trio of Manchester students wearing Fugazi t-shirts playing Bonnie Tyler covers on instruments they’ve made themselves out of some lamb shit, three Pringle tubes and a stolen hairdryer in the Far Out tent, but instead we somewhat predictably go to the beer tasting where Pete Brown is giving an illustrated talk on  the flavours of various beers and which particular band suits that drink, it’s just an intellectual excuse for a piss up  in a big tent basically.

Bill Ryder Jones

Bill Ryder Jones

Eventually the sun tentatively pokes it’s head out from behind the clouds to see what all the fuss is about and accompanied by some fine rum we soundtrack our day with ex Coral chap Bill Ryder Jones, who takes us into some dark corners with a set of beguilingly heartfelt songs.

We hardly have time to catch our breath before Villagers mesmerise the crowd with their subtle, captivating musicianship, it’s a lesson in restraint and beauty. The tracks from the new album Darling Arithmetic proving to be every bit as good live as any of their previous offerings.

Over in the Walled Garden a small frail guy turns out to be Tom Robinson, the former post-punk rebel with a brain and possessor of a small back catalogue of singles and albums mainly from the early eighties. More recently he’s the tastefinder general on Radio 6. He and his band played a short greatest hits set, including Martin, Glad to be Gay, the lovely lost classic War Baby and obviously 2 4 6 8 motorway.

Desperately in need of a fix of scrunchy, drugged-up, fucked up British trippyness we  make  an ascent on the slight incline that leads up to the ‘it does what its says on the tin’ Far Out tent.

Villagers

Villagers

Up first a wonky performance from Leeds finest sons Hookworms, but bettered by far by a slightly underwhelming  (to start with anyway) show from Temples, hesitancy soon gave way to collective euphoria as those tracks on their debut album Sun Structures twitched into life and the monster awoke, leaving this journo duly impressed.

Afterwards a leisurely stroll, presumably on a Welsh ley line brought us to the epicentre of some serious rock action. Strand of Oaks, a four piece, two of whom looked like ex-members of Eels and the other two looked like rejects from both Metallica and Creed, but it just proved that you must never judge a band on appearance alone.

To look at them you might think it was going Iron Maiden bound, fortunately not, instead they played a blinder of a set, full of tough, bluesy riffs, and lovely lead guitar but with really honest lyrics about life, the universe and everything. Vocals courtesy of American Timothy Showalter who looks like  the soundman for  Slayer but was tremendously self effacing , polite and almost tearful at the warmth of the crowd’s response. Its difficult to catagorise them, but if you like rock songs that come from the heart and have potency, deal with  realities and with no reference to dragons or crazy chicks, you’ll love them.

Hot chips for supper, then bed. Only to be kept awake until 4 am by the drum and bass (but mostly bass) shenanigans in the next field.

Saturday

Still no rain! But my goodness what a great day for discovering new music. Hooton Tennis Club is by anybody’s standards a crap name, a proper name for a band is Amon Duul 2 or Acid Mothers Temple or One Direction. What were they thinking ? But they more than compensate for their shit name with some seriously wobbly tunes that pitch somewhere Pavement and Teenage Fanclub.

Does anybody here remember Teenage Fanclub’s Everything Flows? Hooton Tennis Club kinda like that vibe but ready to head into the ditchat any moment. Their two great closing numbers Jasper and Always Coming Back To You were top notch.

The Fall's Mark E Smith

The Fall’s Mark E Smith

A minor detour over to the talking shop marquee where The Fall’s Mark E Smith was being interviewed by a Mojo magazine writer. It proved to be both hilarious and sad, at various points he went off on one about God, Johnny Vegas and even a conspiracy about crisps. After 30 minutes of inane questions sent in by Mojo readers he was clearly getting restless and he said let’s have some questions from the audience, but before that happened he just casually got up and walked off. More of him later.

As the day drew to a close there was a flurry of limping and note taking, wherever you went great stuff was happening. On the Mountain Stage Charles Bradley turned in an extraordinary set of soul and funk based fun, coming on like some latter day James  Brown, preaching fire and brimstone and extolling the virtues of ‘Lurve’. It’s not an act I ever expected to see at Greenman, a totally off the wall booking and it was killer.

He had the tightest band since Prince was last in town and did a number called Confusion that sounded like a cross between Purple Haze and Ball of Confusion by The Temptations, it was electrifying. Praise the lord and pass the rum.

Songhoy Blues

Songhoy Blues

The far out tent then scored a hat trick of quality acts. Songhoy Blues play North African blues with an electro undercurrent and made the audience levitate with happiness. 4,000 people bouncing around a red and yellow tent off their tits on pure unadulterated joy is something once seen, never forgotten.

Then came The Fall, with Mark E Smith shambling on like a geriatric Casper from the greatest film ever made ‘Kes’, a disheveled little bloke screaming his head off into two microphones for an hour. In that time not one word is discernible but the tunes were recognisable courtesy of  the ultra tight band he’s got at the moment. Playing mainly stuff from the new album Sub Lingual Tablet, tracks such as Facebook Troll and Off to Venice With The Girls shifted along nicely, we even got White Lightning and best of all Mr Pharmacist.

It is heartening to see nineties shoegazers Slowdive finally get the recognition they deserve. Reforming in 2014 they have since garnered praise and won new fans of their dreamy, swirling miasma of sound and with Rachel Goswell’s pretty vocals to the fore and Neil Halstead’s treated guitars swooshing around your head at 1am, it’s the best thing ever. Catch the Breeze was a standout as was the final number Golden Hair, with its strobe strafing lightshow, which was not unlike a trip into the stargate in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
At 3am we were found in a bar miming along to Ce La Vie by Bewitched. But that’s our secret ok. So shut it.

Sunday

Rain made its long overdue appearance on Sunday morning. It was heavy and prolonged, a bit like my trip to the toilet. But it eventually subsided to merely ‘torrential’ (the rain that is) and by early afternoon the sun was coming out again.

Once again Mr Greenman provided much in the way of musical nourishment, ex Boo Radleys’ Martin Carr was cool but the day belonged to Meic Stevens, this unassuming elderly little guy is something of a Welsh legend. At one point he was rubbishly referred to as the ‘Welsh Bob Dylan’, as he was a highly politicised 1960s folk singer, turned on by the likes of Big Bill Broonzy and all those other blues dudes.

Meic Stevens

Meic Stevens

On he came to the stage, now aged 73, looking slightly bemused that anyone in their right mind would ask him to play at Greeman. By the third number I was welling up, under the circumstances his playing  was brilliant and his voice tremendously moving, this despite having treatment for throat cancer recently where the doctors told him that he may never talk again, never mind sing. How wrong they were. He spoke of his times hanging out with John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, Donovan and even Paul Simon. His set was living history with acoustic knobs on.

You can’t go to Greenman without a visit to Einstein’s Garden, a scientific playground for the inquisitive child, curated by a motley crew of university boffins, students and doctors, who each specialise in turning science into ‘interesting’ .

Matthew E White

Matthew E White

So we popped into The Science in Star Wars  show and how it could provide answers to the Fermi paradox, which is basically the question – where are the aliens?

Thinking Matthew E White would be yet another intense, beardy man straight off the conveyor belt of tortured American artists I was preparing to go see Touch of Evil in the Cinedrome, when he did the best version of Velvet  Underground’s White Light White Heat ever.  Then he got the Deep Throat Choir on stage, all 5,879 of them to do rousing backing.

Last year Public Service Broadcasting played to 300 people in the Walled Garden this year ten times as many came to the Far Out tent to see them as they continue to ride a wave of well deserved popularity. Wigglesworth and co have fleshed out their duo status to ‘band’, and it  works really nicely. They effortlessly weave the old with new, a nice touch was the shitty, home-made Sputnik orbiting satellite that rose unconvincingly during the opening space based toons from their latest offering.

Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting

At this point my notes run out, as does my short term memory. A combination of lamb kebab overload, the lack of Savlon and too many beers with funny names took their toll and I collapsed in a babbling heap in the back of an ethnic carbon-free sandal store. When I woke up  I was back home in bed with my little Noddy and dreaming of Charlotte Church dressed as Big Bill Broozy with a tube of Savlon  and what looks like my brain in a petri dish.We must do this again sometime.

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes

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Glastonbury Festival 2014 – Ten Must See Acts

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Glastonbury Festival 2014 – Ten Must See Acts

Posted on 04 June 2014 by Joe

Away from the Pyramid and The Other Stage, the Glastonbury Festival offers an array of venues of all sizes, packed full of emerging talent and more well known bands looking for a more intimate gig. From the Leftfield Tent, where Billy Bragg helps curate a political and talented musical line up, to the BBC Introducing Stage, where regional radio DJs showcases their favourite local acts, there is plenty to see away from the BBC cameras.

For the third year running we will be attending and have compiled this list of our recommended acts away on some of the festival’s smaller stages, with West Holts and Park Stage the largest we will focus on.

glastonbury

In our list we have an Emerging Talent competition winner, one of Somerset’s best bands as well as more familiar names that are performing at the festival for the first time or are back again after impressing before. So for those looking to avoid the stadium rock of Metallica and Kasabian here is our pick of the ten must see acts across the festival site.

M+A

For the second year running we were delighted to be among the judges for the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent competition. This year’s deserved winners put in an incredible set during the finals in April in nearby Pilton, Somerset, and we are keen to see much more of their exciting, fun and packed full of humour take on pop music when they open Sunday‘s proceedings at West Holts.

John Grant

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Everyone we recommend Grant to turns round and says “wow!” Yes, he’s that good and has that much of a wide appeal. Across his two albums Queen of Denmark and Pale Green Ghosts, Grant has emerged as an excellent song writer and performer and is part of an impressive line up at the Park Stage this year. He is due on around 9pm on Saturday night.

St Vincent

We stick with the Park Stage with our next recommendation, art rockster St Vincent. Her collaborations with David Byrne and Andrew Bird left us impressed and so too has her recent self titled album. Judging by her live performances recently The Park Stage crowd are in for a treat on Sunday evening.

Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting's J. Willgoose Esq

Public Service Broadcasting’s J. Willgoose Esq

Crazy dance music and pop backed by clips from wartime information films has proved a winning conceit for Public Service Broadcasting duo, J. Willgoose Esq and Wrigglesworth. We saw them at onef the smaller Glastonbury Festival stage William’s Green  last year and they put in an exciting show, backed by a  giant TV on stage and full of humour,  with all banter carried out through pre-programmed robot responses. Their reward for last year’s excellent gig is a move to the far larger West Holts Stage on Sunday afternoon.

Parquet Courts

Just as alternative guitar music looked to be in the doldrums up popped Parquet Courts last year with their Neonfiller.com Album of the Year, Light Up Gold. They have attitude in abundance with their exciting take on the music of Pavement, Wire and The Fall and are yet another excellent addition to The Park Stage’s Friday late afternoon line up.

The Tuts

The Tuts were one of the highlights at last year’s Indietracks and we are delighted that they’ve secured a Friday evening slot at the Leftfield Tent this year. Appearing on the Friday evening they ooze pop appeal and are a slick bunch live, thanks to a support slot on Kate Nash’s tour last year. They kindly let us use their song Tut Tut for this video diary we made for last year’s Indietracks festival.

 

Wolf Alice

New-Wolf-Alice-500x333

Another band to impress us at another festival, is Wolf Alice, a highlight of 2013’s The Great Escape. We predict they will be one of the most talked about of the John Peel stage’s acts, where further acclaim beckons. We also named them as one of out Top Ten Bands to Watch Out for in 2014 and guarantee you won’t be disappointed. They are due on stage around 4pm on the Saturday.

Dry The River

We’ve been banging on about this London folk rock band for years now, after seeing them at Glastonbury and Great Escape in 2011. Live they put on an incredible show both times and are tailor made for a festival crowd with their big sound and stage presence. Be sure to catch their set when they take to the John Peel Stage on Sunday afternoon.

Flipron

Formerly based in London now of Glastonbury, the town that is, they are one of the Festival area’s best  local acts and with a national following as well. They blend a range of genres from folk to rock to pop to ska, but above all they are fun and are a great live act full of invention. In recent year’s they’ve even teamed up with Specials man Neville Staples and are due to perform at the Bandstand around 7pm on the Friday and are penciled in for around 11pm at the Avalon Cafe on the same night.

Young Knives

Young_Knives_Grey_Lunch

How good are Young Knives live? Very much so, according to two of our reviewers who saw them on their own headline slot in Brighton this year as well as supporting The Flaming Lips in May. The fact that they nabbed the Lips support gig proves they are a force to be reckoned with on stage. Fun, quirky, inventive are just some of the adjectives we have used to describe this Leicestershire trio. Pop along and see them at the small but wonderful William’s Green stage early Friday evening.

To plan your festival Clash Finder have this useful timetable with stage times filling up as the get confirmed.

Compiled by Joe Lepper

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Public Service Broadcasting – University of Leicester (April 16, 2014)

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Public Service Broadcasting – University of Leicester (April 16, 2014)

Posted on 17 April 2014 by John Haylock

It has been heartening to witness the rise and unstoppable rise of the uniquely British phenomena that is Public Service Broadcasting.

Since the somewhat low key and unheralded release of their May 2013 debut album Inform Educate Entertain, Mr J. Willgoose Esq, the act’s guitars, gizmos and inert corduroy fashion icon, and Wrigglesworth, PSB’s drum machine in human form, have been on a rollercoaster (a rollercoaster that only goes up and has no downy bits) of enthusiastically received live shows and festival appearances, culminating in last year’s Neon Filler endorsed, chaotically joyous Glastonbury shows.

J. Willgoose Esq

J. Willgoose Esq

The sheer inventiveness and uniquely original concept of the album with all its BBC archived samples married to an almost Krautrockian (especially Neu), propulsive drumbeat and treated guitars has proved to be a genius trick. By word of mouth alone they have, to paraphrase Fatboy Slim, certainly ‘come a long way baby’. More nineties references ahead, you have been warned.

The venue tonight, was deep within the labrynthine bowels of the University of Leicester campus and looked like a mini-Hogwarts dining area, all very woody and proving to have some good acoustics.

Before our main PSB meal though we are served up some fine punky shoegazey salad (what I like to call shoepunk) from a trio hailing from South London going by the not very thrilling name of Happyness.

Happyness

Happyness

Their first number kind of meandered along directionless and lulled you into a false sense of security because the rest of the all too brief set was punctuated by a more twisted and rockier sound. I spoke to Benji the guitarist (wearer of a very dubious and hopefully ironic Def Leppard T shirt) afterwards and he told me enthusiastically how much he loved Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jnr. The Sonic youth element I could certainly hear, although it was Sonic Youth filtered through a politely British filter. They have a number called Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same… so they get my vote. Happyness are playing a fair few festies this year; go check them out.

A very reserved Leicester crowd go slightly enthusiastic when our dynamic duo Public Service Broadcasting  take to the stage (perhaps they are in shock from hearing that the city’s most famous authoress Sue Townsend, mother of the fantastic Adrian Mole has passed away), whatever the reason the crowd initially remain rather subdued.

Wrigglesworth

Wrigglesworth

First thoughts include, ‘blimey Mr J. Willgoose Esq has got 3 guitars now, and ‘that looks like a new shiny drum kit’ and ‘oh! They’ve invested in a bigger tele’ (the old wooden and cardboard thing that adorned their sets last year is now history).

The pair seemingly play the entire album, every track now something of a classic, with accompanying black and white archive footage of everything from spitfires, dogfights, go- go dancers, gas masks and assorted random snippets of dialogue. It proves a mesmerizing mix of sound and trippy visuals.

Of course Willgoose never says a word, he uses his laptop to do the talking, he appears to have sampled responses to anything you can shout at him, at one point, he just randomly used the laptop to say ‘Walkers crisps’, love it !’.

He introduces two new numbers both about Dutch skiers, go figure! It would have been nice to hear more new stuff but I’m sure it’s all in the pipeline for album number two.

By now after spiffing versions of Spitfire, Night Mail, The Now Generation and a blistering Signal 30, the crowd are really up for it and they finally wake up, but its too late. An hour is all you’re getting. The New Order-esque melody of Everest becomes a reluctant encore, it floats in the air and puts a smile on everyone’s faces, and that’s yer lot

But wait! Is there friction in the camp? After Everest, Wrigglesworth didn’t come back on, he left it up to a somewhat confounded looking Willgoose to thank us all for coming (in the computer voice of course). Is there mutiny in the lower ranks? Stay tuned.

As I wandered out I couldn’t help thinking Adrian Mole would love  Public Service Broadcasting, they’re clever, they’re subversive, probably had bad acne when they were teenagers and probably one of them went out with a girl called Pandora Braithwaite.

Funny what you think about when you’ve had half a bottle of absinthe before going to a gig.

Words by John Haylock, Pictures by Arthur Hughes.

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Public Service Broadcasting, Anson Rooms, Bristol (November 26, 2013)

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Public Service Broadcasting, Anson Rooms, Bristol (November 26, 2013)

Posted on 27 November 2013 by Conal Dougan

Public Service Broadcasting offer one of the more remarkable and novel live experiences, blending samples of wartime public information films and accompanying visuals with a surging rock backing. It is brilliantly effective, making one wonder why such an approach hasn’t been utilised to such an extent before. The duo comprises Wrigglesworth on drums (pictured left) and J Willgoose (pictured right) on, as he describes it, ‘everything else’, which tonight means banjo, guitar, sampler and other electronic instruments.

pmb-700

The band is the brainchild of J Willgoose, who is something of a virtuoso, being able to play keyboard backing while also laying down a guitar riff with one hand and hitting sample tabs at the same time. The band has been allowed unparalleled access to the British Film Institute’s archives, delving into old footage and propaganda material to lay down the basis of their tracks.

With its mission statement of  ‘teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future’, the band start in titillating fashion by warning against the threat of mobile phone recordings at gigs, something the crowd audibly appreciates. First up is London Can Take It, sampling a 1940s Ministry of Information film covering the Blitz. PSB deal heavily in nostalgia, with If War Should Come featuring uplifting messages about impending tussles with the Jerries.

The Now Generation is based on old fashion shoots, including clipped tones promoting skirts with pleats, backed with a furious tempo and a taut guitar riff. At one point the narrator points out the ‘new fashion to look old fashioned’, a phrase rendered particularly resonant by J Willgoose’s outfit, all hipster retro-geek with tweed jacket and bow tie.

The stand-out tracks of the night are Spitfire, a rock-out tribute to the famed Battle of Britain machines, the more electronic ROYGBIV featuring J Willgoose on Banjo, and Everest, charting climbers Hillary and Tenzing as they ‘carve steps into the roof of the world’. At their best Public Service Broadcasting are brilliantly thrilling and haunting at the same time, leaving the mainly young crowd wondering how they can feel so nostalgic for a period of history in which they never existed.

If there is one drawback to the band (or is it more of a ‘concept’ than a band?), then it lies in what on earth they will go on to do next. Two new tracks, both based on ice skating and narrated in Dutch are, according to J Willgoose, the ‘logical next step’. However, these tracks fail to arouse the crowd, particularly as they can’t actually understand what is being said by the sampled narrator.

Nevertheless, as images of steam trains, fighter pilots and warships flash past on the screens and banks of old television sets mounted on stage, the crowd is completely absorbed by what Public Service Broadcasting have to offer. If this is indeed a novelty, then it is mighty fine one. Jolly good show chaps!

 by Conal Dougan

 

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Wychwood Festival, Cheltenham (May 30 – June 2, 2013)

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Wychwood Festival, Cheltenham (May 30 – June 2, 2013)

Posted on 03 June 2013 by Joe

It’s only rock n roll but I like it, especially if it’s rock n roll on the warmest day of the year so far, on Cheltenham racecourse surrounded by people old enough to know better wearing pink panther onesies and a sexual health lorry. What more could you want?

Main Stage

As this reviewer and photographer are past it and have no stamina, we opt for the one day option. It’s Saturday of the Wychwood Festival – here we are now, entertain us.

On arrival priority is given to breakfast/dinner/lunch, with all three combined in one hastily consumed stomach lining meal of rice, nachos, peas, mushroom risotto and chicken before overdosing on sunshine and alcohol.

First up we check out the (still, barely) living legend that is John Otway, who reduced everyone to fits of laughter with renditions of House of the Rising Sun, Blockbuster, his two ‘hit’ singles, Cor Baby That’s Really Free and Beware of the Flowers. If you’re not familiar with this rock n roll failure I suggest you acquaint yourself at the earliest opportunity. Where else can you get gymnastics, comedy guitars, audience participation and a version of The Osmonds’ hit  Crazy Horses on Theremin?

The Wedding Present

The Wedding Present

Afterwards I think we saw The Moulettes and then it was time for some abrasive guitar pop from the evergreen The Wedding Present, who blast away the cobwebs with a blistering set. Fantastic.

I hope you’ve all heard the latest Public Service Broadcasting album Inform – Educate, Entertain. Great isn’t it? Well, the eccentric duo, of multi-instrumentalist and Brains from Thunderbirds lookalike J Willgoose Esq, and  drummer Wrigglesworth, were next up. Between them they rocked the house, with Willgoose’s posh electronica knob twiddling among many highlights of their set.

Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting

After spending four hours haggling over a psychedelic shirt (he wanted 20 quid, I offered him a very reasonable 15) we gravitated toward the big top marquee for a performance by The History of Apple Pie, perhaps one of the worst band names since Muse. Fear not though, despite their name they were fab, drawing on such reference points as Ride, Spiritualized and Lush as they delivered a great set of loose limbed shoe gaze that took me right back to those heady days of 1992 (excuse me while I put my rose tinted glasses on ). They whipped up a veritable tornado of sonic love. I’m going to e-mail them this week, however, to tell them how crap their name is; I think it’s my duty.

The History of Apple Pie

The History of Apple Pie

We then caught the tail end of Caravan Palace, and wish I had seen more of their techno barrage par excellence. It was with some trepidation that I waited for Saturday’s headliners, 1980s new romantic pop sensations and Sheffield’s finest, The Human League. I anticipated three numbers and buggering off to see someone else. Well, in the same way that I had to swallow my opinionated cobblers last year and finally concede that Dexy’s Midnight Runners appearance at the Greenman festival was bloody incredible, I have to admit that The Human League were totally ace. It was Kraftwerk on a budget, it was cheese, but the finest cheese you’ve ever tasted and it was fun with a capital F. Mirror Man, Love Action, Fascination are such great big pop singles, with Lebanon, Wonderful, Wonderful, and their crowning glory, Don’t you want me? all shone brightly tonight. They even did their first single Being Boiled, which was greedily fed upon by a joyous crowd, dancing badly on a rare warm English summers evening. It was the epitome of a festival ‘moment’ with respect to Phil Oakey and the girls.

Human League's Phil Oakey

Human League’s Phil Oakey

Afterwards we went backstage to collar Mr Oakey but sadly he couldn’t be found. I think perhaps he spotted me with my clipboard and sexual health questionnaire.

On Sunday morning when I woke up I had in my bag eight packets of pansy seeds, a pair of pink oven gloves, (unused), two country music cds, four bottles of environmentally friendly washing up liquid and a clipboard.

I can’t emphasize enough how much fun Wychwood is. It’s kid friendly, loony friendly, beer friendly. Go next year.

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes

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