The Pigeon Detectives @ Gorilla, Manchester
There are few bands I’d make a trip outside of Liverpool on a gloomy Saturday afternoon for, but Leeds’ finest The Pigeon Detectives are definitely one of them. Upon the release of their new album, Broken Glances, which came out late last month, the indie five-piece took to the stage at Gorilla to a 600-strong crowd (of admittedly mostly rowdy dads) for one of the craziest gigs of my life.
If I’m being honest, Pigeons’ frontman Matt Bowman is an onstage whirlwind. Strutting around like Yorkshire’s answer to Mick Jagger as the band rattled through Pigeon Detectives classics like This Is An Emergency sprinkled in with new tunes from the latest album, it was pretty clear that Matt and the boys were glad to be back, and the throngs of people who’d turned out to see them were welcoming them with open arms. Not being too familiar with Broken Glances, there were a few songs that I didn’t really know, but that couldn’t be said for the rest of the crowd, who screamed the lyrics back at the band word-perfectly.
‘Manchester, this is probably the warmest gig we’ve ever played,’ Bowman announced before opening several bottles of water and tipping them all over the heads of the people below. We were soaked, the band was soaked, the stage floor was definitely a safety hazard – and yet The Pigeon Detectives soldiered on through anthem after indelible anthem. Personal highlights of mine were I Found Out, because obviously I can’t do anything or go anywhere without something reminding me of Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, and fan favourite Romantic Type.
A fairly terrifying experience for me, as a tall person, was during Everybody Wants Me, where the audience was instructed to ‘get on each other’s shoulders, and let’s f*****g ‘ave it!!’ All of a sudden I went from being able to see everything to being surrounded by a forest of precarious drunk Mancunians perching on each other’s shoulders and pouring their pints all over my head. It only got more dangerous from there, as Matt pulled someone from the front row onto the stage and the two of them dived into the crowd during Done In Secret. Matt disappeared for a bit – I couldn’t work out where he’d got to, amongst the sea of flying limbs that made up The Pigeon Detectives’ crowd – but soon he was back and jumping around the stage like a madman once more.
The Pigeons finished their set with ‘slow, calm ballads’ (Matt’s words, not mine) Take Her Back and I’m Not Sorry, and all hell broke loose. Drinks were thrown in the air, the stage was invaded several times by several different people and I had to narrowly avoid a mosh pit full of Manc dads in fear of getting punched in the face. By the end, we were all drenched in sweat and sticking to one another, the stage was a state and The Pigeons’ roadie (definitely the most tolerant man in music) looked close to a heart attack – but it was so worth it. The Pigeon Detectives brand of indie-rock seems to me like a dying art form – nobody really does scuzzy, clangy guitar music these days like they did it in the mid-noughties – but the Gorilla gig proved to me that it’s still as loved as ever. The Pigeons’ debut album Wait For Me came out a staggering 10 years ago, and they’re still as worshipped today as they ever were – something which is no mean feat.
If you ever get chance to see The Pigeon Detectives live, please try and take it. They’re rowdy, they’re brilliant and they’ll make you feel like it’s 2008 all over again – just try not to get seriously injured!