For the entirety of the 70 minute set The Pigeon Detectives put in at the Wedgewood Rooms on Saturday night, somewhere in a dark corner, curled up in the foetal position rocking themselves gently is a health and safety executive. As from the moment the entrance music of the Beastie Boy’s Sabotage gave way to a storming run through of The Romantic Type, frontman Matt Bowman proceeded to windmill his mic, clamber across the monitors and scale the heights of the side speakers. On more than one occasion he looked to have misjudged his step and I fully expected to see him go arse over tit into the sweaty throng at the front. Somehow he maintained his balance and more impressively, vocals, throughout but you do feel it is often more by luck than judgement.
There can be no denying that The Pigeon Detectives give it everything they have live and, for the most part, the audience are more than willing to give it right back. It should be pointed out however that tonight is particularly hot, couple that with the enthusiastic crowd and the atmosphere is almost stifling. This does mean there are times when the crowd drop slightly, more through overheating rather than any lack of interest. Matt does his best to combat this though by regularly handing out bottles of water to the front rows.
Those watching are not the only ones to be sweltering, the band are toasty too but as Matt informs us there is a ‘quid on’ who can keep their jacket on the longest. Bassist Dave is the first to crack and despite the promise of a ‘draw’ guitarist Ryan sneakily keeps his coat on long enough to claim victory. I hope he got his quid.
The Pigeon Detectives don’t really do the mid-set slow down, the pace is pretty much breakneck from start to finish. The singles I Found Out, This Is An Emergency, Say It Like You Mean It and Done In Secret are all deployed with reckless abandon whilst album tracks such as I Can’t Control Myself (Wait For Me) and Through The Door (Up, Guards And At ‘Em) are greeted with as much fervour as the ‘hits’ and as Keep On Your Dress (Emergency) rings out Matt cheekily decrees ‘unless you end up on the tour bus, then disregard everything I just said’.
The Wedgewood Rooms are sold out and this doesn’t go unnoticed by Matt & Co and he makes a point of thanking Portsmouth for their continued support, a sentiment that seems from the heart rather than paying lip service and appears to reinvigorate both band and audience to battle through the heat.
Take Her Back brings the night to a close and an exhausted crowd join in throughout and before the band have had chance to slink off, they are already cheering for the encore. What You Gonna Do? and a blistering I’m Not Sorry bring the curtain down on a raucous night that is a timely reminder that manufactured pop has not yet strangled the life out of the indie scene just yet.
Whilst on record The Pigeon Detectives may be accused of being slightly one dimensional, live is their forum and they put on a full throttle indie rock ‘n’ roll show. Matt has always said that the current album Up, Guards And At ‘Em was a ‘rallying call’ to other guitar bands to step up to the plate. With the shift they put in tonight I think it fair to say The Pigeon Detectives are doing their bit to bring the energy and passion back to a near flat lining scene, let’s hope album Number Four can continue their hard work.