After selling a combined half a million records with their first two albums Yorkshire’s The Pigeon Detectives took sometime away from the spotlight. Significant time has passed since the triumphant Alexandra Palace gig to 8000 fans in 2008 and little has been heard of the band since then.
I caught the band the night before the release of the new album ‘Up, Guards and At ‘Em!’. Where a loyal and expectant crowd were in attendance for the return of the band, in the city of the dreaming spires, Oxford.
Previously The Pigeon Detectives passed me by. A solid band who we capable of moments of inspiration. Some big hummable choruses managed to transcend my apathy towards the band. For the most part my interest in the band was little if any. So with a little trepidation I waited along with the expectant crowd not really sure what to expect from A Pigeon Detectives show.
I need not have worried ,The Pigeon Detectives ooze confidence from the moment energetic curly haired front man Matt Bowman hits the stage, complete with swinging microphones and an exuberant stage presence. Bowman bounds around like a man possessed ,standing on the monitors, drum kit, projecting energy straight to the audience who give just as much back to the band. Bowman knows exactly how to work a crowd unlike many of his contemporaries. His sole purpose is to make this an evening to remember.
The Pigeon Detectives are one of those bands who you forget how many good songs they have. There were a lot of moments for me where I was pleasantly surprised thinking I didn’t know they did this tune. ‘I Found Out’ and ‘Romantic Type’ are dispatched with the potency and directness which made the band’s reputation from their earliest appearances and the tone of the evening is set.
Whilst some of the songs blend into each other musically to a non fan. The Pigeon Detectives manage to keep a level of performance to keep the crowd energised. The interplay between the band is minimal. Everyone taking a back seat to Matt Bowman on stage. Musically accomplished and tight the band play their hearts out despite being plagued by ongoing technical issues which delay the airing of gorgeous new sweeping ballad ‘Turn Out The Lights’. The band are not willing to loosen their tight grip on the crowd tonight.
The songs from the new album ‘Up, Guards and At ‘Em!’ come across positively and the crowd bounce along in an ever increasingly feverish mosh pit. By the time the band have dispatched the latest single ‘Done in Secret’ the crowd are won over. The penultimate ‘Take Me Out’ is followed by ‘I’m Not Sorry’ to take the performance and crowd to another level and then the band are gone.
The Pigeon Detectives may never reinvent the wheel musically, but they will always provide good old fashioned entertainment. Sometimes reinvention is overrated it takes the essence away from the band. The title of their new album ‘Up, Guards and At ‘Em!’ is a call to arms and on the evidence of this performance The Pigeon Detectives are back on form after an extended sabbatical and ready to take the fight to the masses again.