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Pigeon Detectives reviewed

Sian Claire Owen asks if 2008 is the Year of the Pigeon?

Published on May 29th 2008.


Pigeon Detectives reviewed

The saying goes that if everyone in China was to jump at the same time our planet would be jilted out of orbit into deep space. This theorem can be extended to fans of the Pigeon Detectives when they crammed en masse into sold out Yorkshire and Lancashire venues last week.

Pigeon mania' grasped the fans, young ladies hurled their knickers at the band, fans were crowd surfing with wild abandon.

Northern charm, skinny jeans and floppy hair were on the menu for this evening’s gig, and the Leeds-based quintet did not disappoint, leading a full frontal sonic assault where resistance was futile. 'Pigeon mania' grasped the fans, young ladies hurled their knickers at the band, fans were crowd surfing with wild abandon, and the 16-year-old who was sat next to this writer during the gig spent the evening screaming: “You guys are SOOOOOOOO HOT! Argh!”

Opening with their new single 'Emergency', the band whirled the crowd into a bouncing frenzy which refused to let up all night. As it should be. Singer Matt Bowman bounced across the stage as if he had fireworks lodged up his backside, swinging the microphone like a lasso, and generally creating mayhem – all without missing a note. Madonna has nothing on this guy. Remarkable, given that he’d sustained a leg injury after leaping with wild abandon from a pile of speakers during the recent One Big Weekend festival in Ireland.

The Pigeon Detectives crashed landed into the national consciousness in 2006 after supporting Dirty Pretty Things and the Kaiser Chiefs. Renowned for their exhilarating performances and tunes with more hooks than a strip of Velcro, they became darlings of the NME after playing the Radio One stage at T in the Park 2007, subsequently taking the festival, and then the nation by storm.

Recorded tracks from the Pigeon Detectives simply do not do this band justice. Their performances are second to none, but this is what we expect from a band that bases its pulling power on insanely good gigs, the requisite angular Nu-Wave noises, and chanting choruses that work as well on the football terraces as they do on the dance floor.

But in truth, there’s nothing new about their sound, even on their second album Emergency. It's all a predictable indie mush – almost as if The Strokes took The Libertines on a date, plied them with alcohol and then took them home – The Pigeon Detectives is the resulting lovechild, possibly with ADHD. They have much in common with other Leeds bands in this.

But then again, with folk like the Pigeon Detectives, who cares? People can argue that punters have had enough of the 'NME-lad-band' format – wear black, think skinny, play guitar. But usually they're bitter old critics who have seen it all before.

The kids who go to these gigs haven't and that's the key. They don't care if the music is ground-breaking or not, they just want to enjoy themselve. And it’s not as if the band give a toss either. They’re one of the best live indie bands around and they know it. Onlookers left the performance breathless, with shaky knees: 2008 looks set to be the Year of the Pigeon.

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