The audience attending Box of Ghosts’ performance at Cargo was diminutive in size compared to the intrigue displayed within the bands performance on Thursday night. Throughout their set it seems Synth and Soul become ideas that encompass a sound that’s kind of like walking through a futuristic graveyard where the late 70’s is buried. The stage, decorated in fairy lights, aesthetically lends itself to the electronic, Bloc Party-esque sound that the band are perhaps going for, however the sheer strength of the vocals punctuate this, the lead singer’s presence on stage complementing an already strong set. This isn’t to say that this is the band’s only strong point; they’re heavy on percussion in a way that can’t help but move you at least physically, and siren-like guitars are a welcome inclusion. Box of Ghosts often brush euphoria, but shy away at the last moment, commanding a trance like state which works well to encapsulate the audience.

The performance illustrated undeniable promise. Chatting with them afterwards we were informed they are working on new songs ready for an up and coming gig at the Old Blue Last in October, and maybe this new material will be what conjures up a state of rapture to make the industry sit up and take notice. Watch this space!

The headline act at Cargo tonight was Public Service Broadcasting. They are undeniably popular, if the packed out arches of the venue are anything to go by, and I overhear one fan proclaiming just how amazing their set up is to a friend stood next to me. Indeed the set up in impressive; the giant screen behind the band displaying a BBC test card which is then mimicked on a smaller TV in front of them, looking out to the audience. This is illustrative of what Public Service Broadcasting are all about. Their set is an audio-visual extravaganza, with each song inextricably tied in with themed film clips and audio samples that appear to have been stolen straight out the BFI archives via a quick trip to Studio Canal. Live guitar and drums combine with electronica but remain secondary to what’s projected in front of us. It’s the kind of thing I’d expect to see at some bar on the evening of a film festival, but saying that it’s remarkable that you can pack out a venue like Cargo with this style of audio-visual performance, and get an entire crowd dancing. A lot. It’s hard to see Public Service Broadcasting releasing a long line of seminal albums, changing the face of music or collaborating with the great gods of rock. But maybe that’s not what they’re about. It could be viewed as a gimmick, but it’s an entertaining one at that.

Words by Alys Bieder

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