review: Public Service Broadcasting, Professor Penguin at Nights at the Market, Tooting, 28th January 2012

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This show is part of Nights at the Market, essentially a live band night in the heart of Tooting Broadway Market. The London based duo Public Service Broadcasting were the hosts for the evening and, rather charitably, they took the stage first.
Although local Tooting boys Bear Response Team get a good response to their set of uptempo indie pop, and headliners Professor Penguin play a thoroughly professional set complete with a horn section and a percussionist, it was PSB's night in more ways than one.
The performance space is right in the heart of the indoor market, which although it is covered it certainly doesn't keep the heat in and despite an impressively large crowd it is fairly freezing. Bear Response Team's singer wears a buttoned up coat and scarf throughout his performance and although they play a very lively set, he shows no signs of taking it off.
I think it's important to mention the venue and the high standards of performance because the organisers had a set back during the course of the gig when they had a couple of visits from the council's noise control people. Although Professor Penguin have nine people in their band, it's quite possible to carry out a conversation directly in the front of the PA without shouting so it definitely didn't feel too loud in the market. I guess they have to carry out a survey to measure the decibel level at residential areas and I hope that something can be done to stop the market leaking out sound, because it would be a shame to lose such a vibrant and interesting band night.
Anyway, back to the music. I hadn't heard Professor Penguin before so I had no idea what to expect. Their large line-up gives them the luxury to expand upon some strong songs by adding horns and extra percussion and keyboards, and they all come across as very skilled musicians. At heart I reckon they are an indie band but with extra width and colour, and they could well be ones to watch in the coming months as they release their debut album 'Planes'.
When I think about this gig though, I keep returning to the early evening performance by Public Service Broadcasting. Now expanded to a duo with the addition of drummer Wrigglesworth, their live show is just getting better all the time. Tonight the now familiar old television which sits centre stage was actually upstaged by a large projector screen relaying the same visuals, which as usual are impressively in sync with the beats. PSB began as the solo project of J. Willgoose, Esq, and live he plays guitar, keyboards, banjo, whilst triggering samples of found speech and audio from public information films which take the place of any vocals. They play an impressive half hour set which ends with the new single 'ROYGBIV'; a melodic piece of electronica which celebrates the birth of colour television. They are showing tremendous promise, and although tonight was lovely and local and intimate, I can't wait to see their audio-visual show somewhere much bigger soon.

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