Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Wow. Great evening - but don't expect me to be able to sum it up meaningfully or do it justice though.

Before tonight's gig I was still trying to get my head around this year's album "Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of The Radio Age". "More Focus Group than Broadcast" best describes it: seances, tape hiss, library music and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop all spliced together with elements of the signature Broadcast sound. But tonight wasn't a presentation of that record or indeed any of their earlier records in a strict sense. They wove together a set without intermissions or breaks blending drones and electronica with old songs and new songs (I think) played out against a shifting cinematic backdrop.

The first 20 minutes or so saw Trish Keenan and James Gargill on opposite sides of the stage, almost opponents across a boxing ring, behind long tables with banks of Korg keyboards, samplers, effects pedals and microphones, playing along to (or responding to?) a film of abstract black and white images and patterns projected on to a backdrop centre stage. It was like a filmic Roschach test applied to the new album but with other sounds thrown in for good measure. I think. It was equally spooky and hallucinogenic but I only caught or recognised fleeting elements or references to the new record.

Then the set entered another phase. Trish moved centre stage and sang against the now technicolour back-drop projections. Old songs appeared, but were heavily re-worked plus (I think) new ones, all flowing together to create a continuous suite of sounds and images. Trish moved side stage for most of the remaining set. There was nothing showy about her on-stage presence but it was as captivating and haunting as her voice. James played bass or guitar occasionally and for final song Trish played a strange thin, single string instrument (someone please enlighten me).

It finished without encore and was probably not much longer than 70 minutes or so but was such a rich and entrancing experience I didn't feel cheated in anyway. Support was from Moon Wiring Club who played a soundtrack of cut-up dialogue, library music and samples to clips from hammy 70s horror movies and 'Tales of the Unexpected'-type visuals; a perfect warm-up for Broadcast.

There's only two more UK performances of this - Liverpool and Glasgow - before Broadcast head off to Europe and Ireland before then playing ATP but miss this at your peril. Difficult to sum up but one of the live highlights of this year for me.

Tender Buttons [BUY]

1 comment:

The Archivist said...

Some excellent photos on flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nualabugeye/sets/72157622968256002/