28th March 2017

Live: The Pigeon Detectives

The Pigeon Detectives show they can still kick ass in a sweaty, brilliant show in Manchester, writes Jay Plent

11th March at Gorilla


Ah, The Pigeon Detectives. A band from a long-gone age of jangly, upbeat, early 2000s indie rock. Back when bands were allowed to smile onstage, back when music reflected the stark optimism of the post-20th century fade, back when all you needed was a spot in an episode of The Inbetweeners to be a teenage icon.

And yet, ten years into their career, The Pigeon Detectives prove that the old school still kicks ass, bringing us a proper, unrelenting rock and roll show, packed with crowd surfing, cussing, sing-a-longs, and enough chucked water to make members of WaterAid hyperventilate into a paper bag.

The band respect their audience, and this is their greatest strength. They opened the show with new track ‘Enemy Lines’, which incidentally, is one of the biggest deviations in sound the band have ever made, and for all the right reasons. But there was no holding back on the hits, and no pretense that they were ever going to be absent, so in came the all-conquering ‘This Is An Emergency’, followed by ‘I Found Out’, and lo and behold, in one fell swoop, the night was won.

Pretty much every track the band dropped from there on in had the same reaction: screaming, moshing, jumping, and then more screaming, moshing and jumping. ‘Done In Secret’, ‘Animal’, ‘Everybody Wants Me’, ‘I’m Not Sorry’; tracks from across their discography, and every one of them a belter.

How the band has managed to keep up the consistency of their material over the course of the years is beyond astonishing, and their show was just as consistently exciting, especially frontman Matt Bowman, who presumably draws his energy from some combination of drugs, enthusiasm and the occasional occult animal sacrifice.

The Pigeon Detectives have, with every album, punched out at least one absolute banger, so far without fail. No, there isn’t a lot of variety in the subject matter or instrumentation, but frankly the songs are so joyous, and so bombastically channeled live that you can’t help but enjoy yourself.

And although in a live setting the band rely strongly on their throwback value (Bowman even said at the start of the set, “we know you guys want the hits, we’re not thick”) the band are self-aware enough to play to their strengths, and do so with such utter conviction and tenacity that you cannot help but beam, jump and howl your way through their brilliant, blistering shows.

TPD’s set at Gorilla was no exception, but it was exceptional.

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