SXSW Live Shot: Public Service Broadcasting

Think Man or Astro-man? and add a degree in astrophysics

Boffin (noun): A historical predecessor to the nerd, a loving diminutive for a scientist. Boffin rock (noun): See Public Service Broadcasting.

Photo by Shelley Hiam

Think Man or Astro-man?, take away all the Roger Corman B-movie references, and add a degree in astrophysics. London duo J. Willgoose Esq. (guitar, keyboards, banjo, Geddy Lee-esque penchant for playing two of the three at the same time), and Wrigglesworth (thunderous drums) are as quintessentially English as Oasis or the Kinks. But the England of these retro-futurists is the valves-n-wires glorious future of the post-WWII era, when gentlemen in bow ties and tweed jackets with leather patches would save the world through technology.

Traveling light – without projections drawn from classic British television broadcasts – the pair retained its sense of impeccable decorum while powering through highlights from debut full-length Inform-Educate-Entertain, and last year’s moonbound sequel The Race for Space.

Undoubtedly the only SXSW act to sample Yuri Gagarin and W.H. Auden, they let the machines do the talking – literally. Prerecorded digital banter re-enforces the image of scientists engineering raucous rock, Willgoose’s only crowd interaction being the odd thumbs up. He reserves his intellect and energy for a Dick Dale meets Krautrock guitar assault.

Shamelessly intellectual, and referential like a library, PSB’s surprising live intensity has made them unlikely chartbusters in their native country. If a solid riff and odes to NASA engineers get people interested in science again, then proceed, gentlemen.

Complete SXSW Music coverage at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More SXSW Music 2015
SXSW Music: First Band List of 2016
SXSW Music: First Band List of 2016
Initial names for (154) and days remaining until (146) March madness

Kevin Curtin, Oct. 20, 2015

SXSW Live Shot: T-Pain No-Show
SXSW Live Shot: T-Pain No-Show
Gabi Wilson, Tiara Thomas, and NOLA MC Pell take up the slack

Nina Hernandez, March 21, 2015

More by Richard Whittaker
The Lost King
The charming, unlikely, and mostly true tale of the hunt for Richard III

March 24, 2023

John Wick: Chapter 4
Can the killer franchise give its dog-loving hero the ending he deserves?

March 24, 2023


SXSW Music 2015, Public Service Broadcasting, J. Willgoose Esq, Wrigglesworth, Geddy Lee, Oasis, Kinks, NASA, Yuri Gagarin, W.H. Auden

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle