Live Review: The Pigeon Detectives @ Wedgewood Rooms, March 2017

Yesterday evening, The Pigeon Detectives played to a, once again, sold out crowd at Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea with support from both Franklin and Nobodies Birthday. The band’s return comes as part of their latest tour, in support of the release of their latest album ‘Broken Glances‘ which was released just a few weeks back. The Pigeon Detectives debut album was released 10 years ago this year, and five albums on, the band still continue to wow crowds like never before.

P1200051Reading based quintet, Nobodies Birthday were the first band of the night and aside from technical difficulties and a restarted song at the beginning, they didn’t let it get to them. The band put on a rather bold show from start to finish.

Notably, frontman Dom has a cheeky arrogance about him which you can’t fail to miss and could quite easily be compared to the likes of Matty Healy (The 1975). Unfortunately, this didn’t feel like it necessarily fit in with the rest of the band’s performance despite complementing their tracks. Their tracks were catchy and fun, written for the people, but I just didn’t feel like they jelled as a band overall. Nobodies Birthday definitely have more potential though and were very enjoyable regardless!

However, Franklin (the second support of the evening) put on a performance so sharp that you could cut the air on it. The band had a fun attitude with songs that were set to make the crowd bounce. A considerable mention should be given to their lead guitarist/keyboard player Brandon Hargrave who managed to break a finger a few weeks before the gig. He clearly persevered well despite this, as I hadn’t actually noticed until frontman Alex pointed it out a few songs from the end! The overall performance from Franklin was tight, yet lively, vivacious and I’m pretty sure that you will hear more from them in the near future.

Mix It All Up, Pigeon Detectives live at Wedgewood RoomsAfter what seemed like forever, The Pigeon Detectives were soon to storm the stage. The band gave a riotous performance, mainly spurred on by frontman Matt Bowman’s fearless, onstage antics, proving himself to be a liability within just the first few tracks. With water being thrown about everywhere and him even becoming, yes, a human fountain at one point. Although, this meant that there was bound to be an accident at one point, with Bowman jumping onto one of the monitors at the front of the stage, proceeding to slip, falling from the stage. He was seemingly fine and soldiered on before brushing it off as “the trips and falls are just part of the show!” before continuing on in a true courageous manner. Their gigs are definitely not for the faint hearted!

For anyone who was at the last Pigeon Detectives gig in Portsmouth, last year at Pyramids, you might remember that Matt Bowman lost his shoes crowd-surfing and ended up playing the rest of their gig barefoot. Rest assured, this didn’t happen tonight, ensuring that his “trusty red converse” were firmly done up before heading into the crowd and jeering back afterwards that no one managed to take his shoes this time.

Mix It All Up, Pigeon Detectives live at Wedgewood RoomsThe band thanked the crowd for cheering/clapping at the new tracks in an almost apologetic manner. The crowd however, were not apologetic in their participation and the energy was also commented on by both the supports earlier on in the evening. Out of the new tracks, ‘Wolves‘ had to be a highlight, fitting like a glove alongside fan favourites such as ‘This Is An Emergency’, ‘Take Her Back’ and ‘I’m Not Sorry’.

When I’ve been to Wedgewood Rooms over the past year, it’s happened to be, coincidentally, a band members birthdays on various occasions. This time, a special mention was made to the band’s drummer, Jimmy Naylor was made as well as a crowd member who the band played a song dedicated to. Is there any place better to spend your birthday than at a gig at Wedgewood Rooms though? I think not.

This band go against the grain, also refusing to do encores and stated that it seemed odd for them to sit around in the dressing room waiting for the crowd to roar, demanding them to come back, when they could fill the time playing tracks. Which is fair enough for a band whose fans have always come first to them and makes a lot of sense for them as a band, to not engage in encores. Matt Bowman took a short amount of time to thoroughly thank fans for coming out on a Tuesday/work night before heading straight into the last three tracks.

Although The Pigeon Detectives setlist was a mixed bag from across their five albums, with heavier weighting on the band’s debut album ‘Wait For Me’ which turns 10 years old this year. Matt Bowman also stated that the band would return, seemingly to Wedgewood Rooms, as part of a 10 year celebration tour to play the whole of their debut album in full later in the year. This remains to be officially confirmed beyond what he said on the night, with dates yet to be announced.

The Pigeon Detectives set was concise, with a no frills attitude. The band have a combined energy that cannot be ignored and anyone who dismisses them as “just another indie band” should make sure they see them live at least once. They’re a band who can and will prove people’s preconceptions wrong, whilst also proving that indie rock is in fact well and truly alive in 2017.


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