Music is one of those things that becomes synonymous with time. Latching itself without even so much of a question why. Such latchings happen all the time and every time it happens it accompanies an important time in your life. A milestone of taste, where you were at at that particular moment. What you were doing, who you were knocking about with. It rings true; soundtrack-like.
The Pigeon Detectives are one of those bands.
Drop back ten years – yes it really has been that long – and their debut album hits a fifteen year old me and my mates. An album which takes me back to my final year in school, my first year in college. A Leeds Festival I’ll not forget in a hurry. A Leeds Festival which saw The Strokes and Pulp co-headline yet a raging Pigeon Detectives, a couple of albums deep by this point, set still sparks discussion. Yorkshire heart, northern soul.
I went in relatively blind to the gig. I hadn’t listened to the new album at all. A couple of songs heard here and there. Maybe I thought that connection had disseminated. Upped and left as most of my interests at that age had. Taste naturally evolved. The nostalgia drew me back in.
The lads from Leeds came out to a rawkus crowd following a strong set from Franklin and Tiny Minds. The lads from St Albans played with tones of Mumford and Sons and The Kooks throughout their set to a near-full Leadmill and an energy which fit perfectly with the evening. People were in early, no doubt because most of them weren’t old enough to be in the surrounding pubs. But it set the scene nicely. Atmosphere bubbling, just waiting to usurp itself.
Upon taking the stage, and following a mutual Yorkshire appreciation between band and crowd, Enemy Lines from the new album was banged out. If you thought the crowd were up for it, so were The Pigeons. Frontman, Matt, effusive about the stage as he so often is. Energy and heart. Mic stand clattered into.
What followed was special. Crowd and band feeding off one another in harmony. The classics. ‘This Is An Emergency’, ‘I Found Out’, ‘Animal’, ‘Better Not Look My Way’, ‘Done in Secret’.
You would have thought following a new album the set-list would have been top-heavy with new tunes but not tonight.
New song ‘Wolves’ squeezed its way between the aforementioned and slotted right at home. The same can be said for all songs from the new album. ‘Lose Control’ and’ A Little Bit Alone’ catalysing a crowd as receptive as they were for their favourites. The ones the nostalgia-driven crowd, myself included, came to see.
The lads remarked their love of Leadmill as a venue and rightly so. It’s a venue that has never let them down. They’ve never let us down.
Matt ended up in the crowd, of course he ended up in the crowd. There was no world he wasn’t ending up in the crowd on Tuesday night. Testament to the commitment these guys have.
The set began to round off pre-encore with closing songs ‘Making Up Numbers’ and ‘Everybody Wants Me’ from the second album followed by ‘I Don’t Mind’ from We Met At Sea.
‘Romantic Type’, ‘Go At It Completely’ and ‘Take Her Back’ saw the crowd whipped into a frenzy. The dance floor became one. A pit of scrappy youth – whether relived or current.
‘I’m Not Gonna Take This’ and the natural end of ‘I’m Not Sorry’ brought a close to affairs, but it was one that will live long in the memory.
The Pigeon Detectives have an incredible hold over a crowd. What really is quite remarkable, and a complete testament to their roots, is their ability to hold an age demographic. An almost spellbinding mystique. Crowd divided only between those still living through their mid-teens and those trying to relive their mid-teens.
Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s The Pigeon Detectives. Why should a music taste evolve when you can be transported back to a time with a thrash of an everlasting indie-riff?