Tuesday 6 November 2007

Pigeon Detectives, Rock City

I've been stood up by my mate (again) who's decided to drive over to Birmingham to see the Foo Fighters for 2414th time rather than join me at the Pigeon Detectives. Since we got tickets they've suddenly become popular, which is a shame and the gig is now sold out, whereas a few months ago they couldn't give the tickets away. Daughter is keen to go and because my mate isn't now going I've manage to buy his ticket off him for her. So it's Daughter and me tonight, no L. She says she's not keen on them Pigeon Fanciers; she liked what she heard of them in the Ropewalk one night but not when she'd sobered up afterwards.

I ride home and then run to meet L from pilates. I persuade Doggo into doing a loop around Wollaton before heaving up to the Tennis Centre. Unfortunately we lose one of his flashing lights off his running jacket; well he loses it, too much pushing through bushes. We retrace our steps to look for it. This upsets Doggo who doesn't like it when we repeat a route, lazy creature.

L whips up some excellent sausage, mash, and onions and then we're off to the gig at Rock City. Daughter seems to have her pulling gear on or perhaps she just wants to look good in the mosh pit; although she's not shown any inclination to crowd surf before but she probably just didn’t want to in front of her mother. Hope she behaves herself or else I could be in trouble with L.

We miss the first support band, the much hyped One Night Only, who I'd like to have seen but we catch most of the set by The Wallbirds. The place is packed and we're in the Maximo Park position, stage right, so the view isn't brilliant. The Wallbirds are kind of country-rock that reminds me of Fratellis but with potential. One of their songs seemed to consist of just a guitar, a hi-hat cymbal and a pair of sticks, assisted by a lot of clapping from the crowd. They're certainly energetic and it rubs off on the crowd. Possibly one to watch out for.

In between bands we move to a better position on the steps, where Daughter has to battle the drunks and some over enthusiastic fans but we have a good view. The beer throwing isn't too bad tonight which is a good job as Daughter has opted to keep her white sweat-top on rather than wow a pigeon fancier with her d├ęcolletage.

"Hello Nottinum"

Winning no prizes for pronunciation here come tonight headliners. All dressed in leather jackets the Pigeons energetically take flight into their breakthrough single 'I Found Out' which grazed the lower reaches of the charts earlier this year and is now set for a re-release.

The band, lead by their lunatic of a front man, Matt Bowman, then proceed to work their way through their debut album 'Wait For Me' and assorted b-sides. Hammering out their high octane, pop songs as the crowd jump, surge and crowd surf in front of them. I had expected it to be an almost exclusively under 18's crowd but it isn't, it's mainly students and twenty something's with a few oldies like me thrown in. Because the band have only recently become popular the youngsters must have been out manoeuvred on the tickets.

Music aside all the entertainment comes from Mental Matt. He swings his microphone above his head on its cable; I hope they've got plenty of spares. For some reason his performance reminds me of Alvin Stardust. Two songs in he takes off his leather jacket, to reveal a black t-shirt and launches himself into the crowd. He emerges with the t-shirt in shreds, pre-arranged me thinks, pre-ripped. Some ego. Already I've discarded the Alvin comparisons and now I'm wondering whether he's taken lessons on stage presence from Justin of the Darkness but then suddenly he goes a bit bashful on us. He resists the temptation to go bare-chested, as Justin would have done, and puts his jacket back on. Thank God for that. Then for the next song he swaps it for another t-shirt. We're four songs in and there have already been more costumes changes than at a Madonna gig.

Matt The Mouth continues to leap around the stage and the crowd sing-along-a-Matt. His and the band's energy is reflected and magnified by the crowd, which in turn spurs him on even more. He has the crowd eating out of his hand and he loves it; oh how much does he love it. Then he surfs into the crowd and is tossed around by a sea of hands. When he returns to the stage he has lost his microphone. Some feat when it's on a bloody long cable.

For his next trick, he catches a beer can that is thrown from the back of hall, he looks stunned he's caught it but he remains cool and casually drinks from it, then spits it out over the crowd before hurling the can back from where it came. The man's a one-man cabaret act. He spends the rest of the gig trying to catch another one, plenty are thrown, but he cannot repeat the feat. He regularly encores the spitting though, he's frequently drinking beer, or water and regurgitating it straight back out, either up in the air or over the audience. Not very endearing. If this is how he drinks I'd hate to see him eat.

A shoe makes it one stage and as Bowman makes a joke about it, it becomes the cue for lots of other shoes and article of clothing are thrown on stage. This isn't a f****** jumble sale he protests but he likes the belt and says he'll keep it.

The band who hail from Rothwell, near Leeds, and have a certain edgy Northern charm about them, nearly cause a riot at one stage when they threatened to play 'Marching On Together', Leeds United's anthem, while the guitarist's effects pedal is fixed. Luckily for them not enough people are clued up or else they'd probably have got bottled off.

They close with 'I'm Always Right' followed by 'I'm Not Sorry', their first release, which only emerged in March this year. Which goes to show how far they've come in a mere eight months.

There's no encore, I think after an hour they simply ran out of material and energy. Their problem is that their simple formula can wear a little thin. You can get the feeling that you've heard some of the tracks before even when you haven't. Three chord riffs, a bass player who only plays one string and caveman lyrics about drink, girls, and rowdiness, there isn't anything particularly original about them but they do do it rather well. I heard someone describe them as McFly with balls, quite.

Three songs from the end they played a track called 'Emergency'. I thought this was a cover but it turns out to be a new track of theirs. It's one of the best tracks of the night and could be a sign of the diversity they'll need to develop in their repertoire if they are to kick on from here. We don't get anything profound or enduring from them tonight but you do get fun, plenty of fun. Pure trash. Excellent. The best place to be tonight was probably down the front with the pogoing students and had I not been restraining Daughter I might just have joined them. Now where's me shoes.

Show over, the appreciative crowd, and Daughter, go home happy and singing. How many lads will be smooth talking their girlfriends tonight with Matt's sweet nothings, 'You know I love you, take off your clothes, its alright'. Daughter is humming along too but she has mangled together a Killers/Pigeons remix in her head, for some reason.

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