The Pigeon Detectives + The Virgins + Your Biggest Fanclub @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall – 25th November 2008

Pigeon Detectives

I got to the venue at 7 o clock sharp, in anticipation to get to the front. Something was telling me that tonight was going to be pretty special, and that I wouldn’t want to miss a second of it. I’ve seen the Pigeon Detectives enough times before to know that they put on an energetic live show, but could they keep coming back with more? Surely there’s only so much a band could do, but tonight pure loyalty was dragging me in.

The band had posted on their Myspace blog the support acts for the whole of their tour, out of pure ignorance I didn’t check them out, and I’m glad I didn’t. Just for the fact that it’s harder to enjoy a band that you’ve never heard of, and it’s a bigger challenge for them to impress. Somehow the first of tonight’s support acts managed to blow me away. It made me wonder if I’m becoming too soft on these bands, but in fact they really were that good. Local band Your Biggest Fanclub entered the stage with such presence. The threesome jumped into their energetic pop fuelled tunes making the audience stand and stare in awe. Although they’re only a local band (not that that’s a bad thing-but judging by tonight, really they should be bigger) they seem to emit as much confidence and self defiance than any other band in the charts today. Maybe I shouldn’t compare them to ‘any other band’ it sounds like a cliché, but Your Biggest Fanclub really do have something different. There’s just this air about them backed up with their catchy beats that makes you want to have discovered them before anyone else. Such talent the three musicians have, and they all seem to gel together. I think it helped that there were a handful of people jumping around and singing every word to their songs. That sense of familiarity allowed the band to dominate the stage. They looked as though this was their home for the night, and really I don’t blame them. Armed with a Stylophone and intense drum beats, I have to say that this band really were the highlight of my night. I’d say check out their Myspace, please by all means do, but do it to find out where they are playing next, if you really want your socks blown off.

The Virgins

All excited by the first support act, I couldn’t wait for the next. The Virgins had travelled all the way from New York and vaguely hearing their name here and there- I thought I could predict what they would be like. I thought probably a little bit punk, a little bit retro, but being as they’re supporting the Pigeon Detectives- surely mainstream indie? Well, I couldn’t get any further from the sound of The Virgins if I tried. However, I’m not really sure I could describe them. They entered the stage with their random attire- I say random, the guitarist had jeans that were duck-taped together and the lead singer was wearing leggings. I don’t think the crowd really knew how to react. The band started playing and yes, I thought they were alright, but maybe they should have been the first support act.

The Virgins

The crowd didn’t exactly take to the band at any point in their set. Copious amount of water and cups were thrown towards the lead singer. I felt a little bit sorry for them, but to be fair they did it to themselves. To look at them you would think The Virgins were going to put on an exuberant and unforgettable set, but really they didn’t. Even the guitarist got bored half way through and was more pre-occupied with the condoms that the ‘oh so grown up’ crowd had started to pass around in desperate need for entertainment. After the show however, I decided to check out The Virgins and what they sounded like recorded. I actually think they sound alright, and would maybe go to see them live again, just to see if they would be any better. Really they couldn’t be any worse. Maybe they were having an ‘off day’?

Pigeon DetectivesPigeon Detectives

With the support acts over, the tension and excitement in the crowd started to increase. Everyone was chattering about how many times they had seen the Pigeon Detectives live. To look around I would say I recognise a few familiar faces. It did make me wonder what the Pigeon Detectives do, to make their fans so dedicated. Usually after seeing a band a few times, one performance changes it all- the band look like they can’t be bothered anymore or their just too big for their boots. Something tells me this won’t happen to the Pigeons. I’d be the first one to complain if it did. No pressure then. Eventually the wait was over and the band entered the stage. They started their set with all time crowd pleaser ‘I Found Out’. With its call and response type chorus it was a great way to get the audience limbered up (especially after the disappointment of The Virgins). The band were as hyperactive as ever. With lead vocal Matt Bowman throwing in total about 20 bottles of water over the crowd by the end of the set.

With two albums out now, it was going to be a hard decision choosing which songs to keep and which songs not to play- without upsetting someone. Tonight however, the Pigeon Detectives decided they didn’t really have to choose, and instead they’d just play them all! Well at least that’s what it felt like. Not that the set dragged-at all, but there was just no way I could point out an individual song that they didn’t play. The energy that the band gave off onstage seemed to reflect and even multiply into the audience. The fans were going crazy; usually at a gig as colossal as this you’d be grateful for a song with a slower tempo. Tonight however, we were here to see the Pigeon Detectives and only in one song do they know how to slow it down. This is far from a criticism quite frankly it pulls them apart from most bands that follow the ‘usual’ criteria. They break it down for ‘Nothing To Do With You’ which requires great audience participation… swaying. The slow song is placed dead in the centre of their set, probably the best place for it just to create the contrast. It was almost like part A and part B.

Pigeon Detectives

The band soon got back to full speed with chart hit ‘Romantic Type’ which gets the crowd going wild as lead singer Matt jumps around the stage occasionally dipping into the crowd. I couldn’t help but notice that as he jumped in, people’s hands were going towards the frontman’s hair. I found this a very odd spectacle, but I seemed to be the only one. Saying this, maybe it has something to do with the type of crowd that The Pigeon Detectives bring to their gigs. I had a 12 year old girl to the left of me, and a 40 year old man on my right. It was pretty mixed up. As for all the people caressing the lead’s hair- I’d say they were about 17, and couldn’t believe their luck.

This wasn’t detrimental to the show at all. Infact, I’d almost go as far as saying that it added to the excitement of tonight’s gig. The fact that I didn’t know how the crowd were going to react or how the band would react to us. Tonight was the band’s second date on their tour, which will be followed by another night in Wolverhampton tomorrow. With such dedicated followers that created such an eruption when they play, no wonder why the Pigeon Detectives decide the Midlands was a great place to invade for two nights.

Tonight was intense, and for anyone that doesn’t exactly ‘rate’ the Pigeon Detectives, but think they have some catchy tunes- go see them live. You really won’t regret it.

Set List:
I Found Out
I’m Not Gonna Take This
This Is An Emergency
Don’t Know How To Say Goodbye
Stop or Go
Keep On Your Dress
Caught in Your Trap
Can’t Control Myself
Say It Like You Mean It
Nothing To Do With You
Romantic Type
Making Up Numbers
Everybody Wants Me
Take Her Back
I’m A Liar
You Don’t Need It
I’m Always Right

I Need You
Wait For Me
I’m Not Sorry

Review – Shannan Carlton

Photos – Chris Barber

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