Islington Academy, London - 10 December, 2003

"Broadcast: The Teenage Years"

I should have known the karma Gods had a challenging evening ahead of me when a pile of urgent budget work was dumped on my desk late in the afternoon at work. This on the back of an already exhausting week. This obstacle theme continued at the door of the very corporate CarlingTM Academy (formerly the very short-lived and very expensive Marquee that almost bankrupt Dave Stewart) who were searching all bags and confiscating all cameras - so no photos this time since I had no press pass I'm afraid.

Like a caring uncle, I've kept an eye on Broadcast since first seeing them perform at the Blow Up club in the late 90s. My support has wained since then, only for that role to be passed to my wife who has picked up the last two albums. As a household then, we are still looking out for Trish and her guys. It had been some time since I last caught them, but I was still surprised by how their live sound had developed.

Whilst the PA this evening was a little too sharp for comfort, the music that Broadcast put out made up for any technical shortcomings. Amazingly improved versions of classics from their first album were worked into a set that featured more white noise than ever before. That's not to say that the 60s Parisien "Ahh, ahh ahhs" of old were absent. They were still very much in evidence, but now seem just too twee alongside the more angsty, jagged guitars of the newer material. Especially given the stronger, more mature delivery of lead singer Trish Keenan. Maybe this is just Broadcast: The Teenage Years. I hope so.

At ease with ten minute motorik instrumental diversions, Broadcast no longer feel constrained by their alt-pop origins, but they do risk loosing their unique, warm electronica sound amid the noise. Yet, there were moments of light relief, and in those melodic, Wicker Man-ish interludes their distinctive star qualities still shine. My watchful eye remains in their favour.

Rob Dyer