Pigeon Detectives at Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth (11/05/2013)

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It’s fair to say that the Pigeon Detectives definitely still have many (mad) fans around and whilst their music may have changed slightly over the years their ability to put on a good live show will be everlasting, as I found out from their most recent tour.

Typical of a new rock band, support band Hares were trying too hard to be cool. Thankfully, they completely got away with it due to their attractive looks. It’s more than fair to say that the girls in the audience had a stronger focus on the three men up on stage than the boys, of whom were standing around looking relatively bored. As their set went on however, things got better and the audience began showing signs of appreciation for the catchy rock being played. ‘Coastlines’ was easily the best song they played and the number of people singing along evidenced the fan base they’ve already began to build.

The second support act, Must, kept up the audience interaction by feeling the need to throw a number of toilet rolls into the crowd. They played a selection of fun rock/pop songs that sounded more American than they did British; it was pleasant enough to listen to and got everyone warmed up, but it was nothing original.

Now for the exhilarating part of the night. If the audience were crates of champagne bottles, the two mediocre support acts competently completed their job of shaking each one up and creating suspense, so when the Pigeon Detectives began their set the corks flew off and the room fizzed with unbelievable amounts of energy as the crowd began incessant jumping up and down. The sight of Matt Bowman leaping and bounding around the stage took everyone back a few years and re-opened the excitement there once was for the Pigeon Detectives.

They began their performance with ‘I Won’t Come Back’, taken from their new album, and whilst this song may only be classed as ‘good’ recorded, played live the aggressive guitars lifted the song and it sounded first-class. A perfect choice of opening song. Following on from this the boys went straight on to one of their biggest hits, ‘I Found Out’. Everyone in the room was shouting the lyrics at the top of their lungs, drinks were splashing all over the place and I found myself the other side of the audience before the song had finished.

A very wise set list had been created; alternating their biggest hits with slower/less popular ones throughout. It felt a little like interval training, 3 minutes of moving around at a ridiculous tempo, then 3 minutes to rest and take things a bit slower, before going straight back into working up a sweat and permanently damaging my vocal chords.

The most fascinating aspect of the Pigeon Detectives performance was how they played each song with as much confidence and enthusiasm as the next. If you didn’t already know all the songs, audience reaction aside, it would be impossible to tell which songs were new and which songs have been around for years. The whole set was played so meaningfully and with so much passion that it’s no wonder the crowd went wild. ‘Animal’ taken from their new album We Met At Sea, got the fans going beserk to the point where I found myself knocked flat onto my back, but the thick, intense atmosphere masked the pain so that being knocked onto the floor only added to the enjoyment of the night.

‘Hold Your Gaze’ and ‘I’m Not Sorry’, taken from their debut and most recent album respectively made up the encore. ‘Hold Your Gaze’ is a breezy summery song that wonderfully set up ‘I’m Not Sorry’ where the wildness was taken to another level with crowd surfing galore. As the final beat was hit, drumsticks were launched out into the audience (a pleasant change from the water sprayed directly from Matt’s mouth that we’d had to put up with for the rest of the night) and some middle aged women next to me was lucky enough to catch one. Unfortunately for her, the next thing she caught was a brutal shove to the side as the drumstick was torn out of her hands and into those of an obsessive fan.

Post-gig Jesters felt incredibly tame.

The Pigeon Detectives have just announced a 14 date Autumn UK tour and will be playing Wedgewood rooms again on the 31/10/2013.

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