PROM 10: THE RACE FOR SPACE | BBC Proms 2019

London-based alternative instrumental rock ensemble Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) comprises J. Willgoose, Esq. (guitar, banjo, sampling and electronics), Wrigglesworth (drums and electronics), and JF Abraham (flugelhorn, bass guitar, percussion and arrangements). Using a technique of layering classic cinema clips, the National Archive, and visuals by Mr. B, underscored by instrumental backing tracks, the resulting style fuses art rock and social commentary and has been dubbed History Rock.

Debuting in 2009, their second album The Race For Space reached No. 11 in the charts in 2015. For this multi-media extravaganza, PSB played the whole album through live, with the addition of The Multi-Storey Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Stark, and the London Contemporary Voices, led by Alex Palmer. Huge video screens showed clips celebrating fifty years since the moon landings, while a mini Sputnik was raised into the air on stage.

A particular high point came with the dancing astronaut duo in “Gagarin”. Opening and closing the show were a new “Introduction” and “Coda”, with orchestra and choir blending in slow, grand swells.

The Royal Albert Hall was absolutely packed to the rafters, with Prommers led into becoming a kind of mosh pit, rocking their heads to PSB’s pulsing synth lines. There’s no doubt that a large proportion of the audience were PSB fans rather than Proms fans, but that’s exactly in the spirit of the Proms as Henry Wood always intended it. We all gave it a massive standing ovation at the end.

1,350 £6 Promming tickets are available on the day for every performance.

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