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Public Access TV – Oslo, Hackney – 22.02.18

How many times have you wished to see one of New York’s most iconic bands near the beginning of their career? If Doc Brown, or his cartoon counterpart Rick of Rick & Morty fame, appeared in a vehicle to take you through time to a musical moment of your choosing, you’d probably request some dive bar to see Blondie or The Beastie Boys or The Strokes before they made it, right?

Well by some bizarre happening, it’s still sort of possible to witness NYC 4-piece Public Access T.V. before their career inevitably becomes some widescreen, technicolour experience. In a parallel universe (that Rick has no doubt visited), Public Access T.V. have taken over the world with their genre-spanning, NYCentric musical output; they look like Ramones, act like Beastie Boys, perform like Strokes and sound like an amalgamation of all of the above. They’re putting the New in the New York music scene, despite the fact they’ve just released their second album.

Last week Public Access T.V. played Hackney’s Oslo as part of the NME Awards Shows, in a venue without screens or a physical divide between the band and their audience. In a way it’s a shame to think that they will become bigger, inevitable having to upgrade their stages and spaces, but less about then and more about now. Opening with a trio of tracks from their debut, Never Enough, the band’s live sound coats the tracks with a little grit, with the majority of the crowd joining in for the choruses, particularly losing themselves to On Location.

Of the new numbers, Lost In The Game is perhaps the biggest reminder that time has passed between LP1 and LP2. With some funk and brass, this is the Blondie groove introducing itself into an already satisfactory mix, while Metrotech is equally reliant on a bass-groove. It’s almost like Talking Heads were from The Big Apple too… But do not take any of these likenesses as criticism; music flows through New York’s streets like blood flows through veins, and to say that these sounds were brand new would be to ignore The Sex Pistols influence on The Libertines, and the longstanding styles passed from band to band who start out in London. The city is the heart of the band; think The Beatles, think Liverpool.

Closing the show with non-album debut single In The Mirror, it’s clear that while Public Access T.V.’s style has altered somewhat, this isn’t a band changing, but just one becoming more aware of their responsibility to fully embrace themselves, their city and the imprint they’ll make on a long line of musical legends. Don’t miss your chance to switch on to Public Access T.V., it’s not too late.

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