Bournemouth Old Fire Station, April 8th
I wanted to hate The Pigeon Detectives – their repetitive, somewhat outdated sound doesn’t always sit harmoniously in my musical consciousness, and after a stressful drive to the Bournemouth Old Fire Station, I wanted nothing more than to tear them apart. But as they wandered onto the stage amidst a cacophony of thunderous applause and launched headlong into ‘I’m Not Gonna Take This’, I gobbled my words, swiftly followed by my hat in a matter of seconds.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what caused this opinion u-turn: musically, they were almost everything I expected. The balance between musical parts was perfect, and the set had a great mix between old and new tracks, playing their hits almost exactly to the record. Although this certainly helped my conversion, my reluctant enjoyment stemmed from the experience of The Pigeon Detectives live. In the flesh, they were charismatic and entertaining in a way that jarred with my perception of the Yorkshire quintet. They didn’t take themselves too seriously, and played with such vigor and enthusiasm that it was nigh on impossible not to get swept along in their musical cyclone, a metaphor that was a little too literal for my liking in the sweaty dense venue.
The first half of the set was solid, as were many of the venue’s occupants: The Pigeon Detectives seem to attract middle aged women and football hooligans alike. There were some very minor microphone issues on classics ‘I Found Out’ and ‘This is an Emergency’, but these were completely overshadowed by lead Matt Bowman, who bounded about the stage swinging the microphone like a hammer thrower on steroids. But what increased my respect for The Pigeon Detectives infinitely, was rather bizzarely, an emergency.
The lights went up, and a shrill ringing made its way through the tinnitus to alert the crowd to a potential fire in the (ironic) Old Firestation. 30 minutes later, the crowd packed like sardines in a back alley in Bournemouth, we were allowed back into the venue, much to The Pigeon Detectives delight. Thanking the crowd for hanging around over and over again, they launched back into the set with a renewed energy that allowed them to cram the next nine songs in just over half an hour, a rather impressive feat.
They were completely unphased by this interruption, and if anything, their set continued to improve. Personal highlights included new track ‘Need to Know This’, which had some stunningly orchestrated synth intermissions, and ‘What You Gonna Do’, during which the whole band come together for the first time to enjoy themselves as a group.
Overall I was impressed, stunned and shocked in equal measure. The Pigeon Detectives rounded off their set with ‘I’m Not Sorry’, keeping up the momentum right up until the last guitar squeal, vacating the stage very much in the same way they occupied it – to tumultuous applause. The only difference was there was one more set of hands clapping in total awe of the Yorkshire outfit – mine.
Good: Outstanding crowd engagement, endless energy and enthusiasm, great sound
Bad: There were moments where the energy dipped during less well known new songs, and the fire alarm was a massive inconvenience.