published: 27 /
Gillian Fish relives the sounds of mid-noughties indie with a trip to Manchester to watch the Pigeon Detectives
Whatever opinion you may have about the Pigeon Detectives there is no denying it is fairly impressive that the indie-rock band have made it to album number five and are still playing sold-out gigs when so many of their mid-noughties counterparts have fallen by the wayside.
It’s a clearly energetic and enthusiastic Saturday night crowd that greets the Leeds band on their return to Manchester on Saturday night. The five-piece open up proceedings at Gorilla with the catchy ‘Enemy Lines’ from the aforementioned fifth record ‘Broken Glances’, the song has an instantly catchy and repetitive melody which isn’t too dissimilar to their older material. The second song of the night is crowd-pleaser and former single ‘This is an Emergency’; it ensures the audience and band are warmed up suitably for the rest of the night. The small venue is the kind that works perfectly for a band like the Pigeon Detectives who thrive on close contact with the crowd. Vocalist Matt Bowman fist-bumps the front row continuously, balancing precariously on the monitors when he’s not star-jumping off the drum-kit or using the microphone as a lasso. If like me you attended any of their gigs back in the day you’ll also know Bowman has a fondness for spraying himself and the audience with countless bottles of water throughout the set; it’s somewhat of a Pigeon Detectives trademark now.
The gig attracted a varied age range with us slightly older folk reliving our indie glory days from the edge, while the first few rows looked as if they were still in primary school when this band released their debut. The younger members of the crowd enthusiastically obey commands from the band to “get on someone’s shoulders” during ‘Everybody Wants Me’. When they launch into the indie disco favourite ‘I Found Out’ the whole room erupts into a mass singalong/shout-along with the chant-like lyrics; this track along with ‘Romantic Type’ and ‘Better Not Look My Way’ demonstrate perfectly how many infectious indie-pop choruses there are on first album ‘Wait for Me’.
‘Broken Glances’ sees The Pigeon Detectives out of their comfort zone and taking a different direction musically, in Manchester they only play a couple of newbies acknowledging that their fans are there “to hear the hits”. ‘Wolves’ provides a mellow interlude in the set and indicates towards the more reflective, brooding sound of the record. Lead single ‘Lose Control’ retains elements of their original sound though with an infectious rhythm and up-tempo beat . One of the biggest cheers of the night is reserved for when Bowman tells the crowd they are planning an anniversary tour in the autumn to mark 10 years since the release of ‘Wait for Me’.
It’s a short and sweet encore consisting of just one song, and arguably their biggest hit ‘I’m Not Sorry’, they have the audience in the palm of their hands, ordering them to “bounce, bounce, bounce!”. Even though the moment has probably passed for the Pigeon Detectives in terms of releasing new music that will have any impact they are still very much capable of a live performance with a raw energy and raucousness that should be entertaining for those that want to reminisce for quite some time yet.
Photographs by Gillian Fish