Review: Pigeon Detectives in Portsmouth

Review: Pigeon Detectives in Portsmouth


All early noughties indie kids will be pleased to know that Pigeon Detectives were in Portsmouth Tuesday. However, being someone who identifies in that same category, I found the whole experience underwhelming at best. Perhaps it was the girl who stood me up to attend or maybe I just had high hopes for what the band once were, but it seemed to me that the Detectives had their best days in 2006 and should have left it there. Coming out to the stage looking like a cross between the 1975 and The Famous Five, the Yorkshire lads were about as “edgy” as Sunday lunch round your nans.

Obviously, the indie rock scene is nothing without an old leather jacket and black tee, but front man Mat Bowman somehow looked more like a father in the midst of a mid life crisis than rock star. In fact, none of them had a visible change stylistically from their promo work of nearly a decade ago, meaning these now “Thirty-Somethings” looked somewhat out of place. I think perhaps the appropriate phrase here is “mutton dressed as lamb”, which is saying something in rock when you consider the Stones. It just didn’t cut the mustard for me.

The Pigeon Detectives

It would be easy to discount this though if it wasn’t for the performance following suit in many ways. Don’t get me wrong, it was far from terrible; the band showed impressive energy considering this was one of their gigs on this tour, and the crowd responded fantastically. No doubt, the fans were more diehard fans than I am and were giving the band a cracking reception, with even a mosh going on throughout, which I hadn’t expected from the Detectives. At one point and much to my amusement, Bowman and audience became one after a misjudged jump onto a speaker saw him tumble into the crowd, which turned out to be one of the sole highlights for me.

Truthfully, it just wasn’t my cup of tea at all. For me, indie rock gigs have this special rustic feeling to them, a sense of passion about their music and a want to play – something individual that stands out in its own right. Some charisma I guess is the word. The Pigeon Detectives had the illusion of this in the energy, but couldn’t stack up to my expectations. Perhaps it was because they were lagging from their tour. I think, at least for me, it just lacked any presence of a wow factor and if this was an attempt at a comeback, I see little hope for this outfit. I daresay, this teeny bopper regurgitation of what was massive eight years ago isn’t going to resonate much with newer crowds who can access a whole range of new music at the touch of a finger. As such, apart from a few hundred fans leftover from their heyday, drunk off nostalgia, I can’t see how these lads are going break back into an already saturated indie market. I think the key thing is there is just nothing new here, no originality or USP. Just a few lads, living off the merit from the past thinking that’s enough to sail back into the charts, when times have moved on and so should they. Overall, the Pigeon Detectives perhaps need to leave the Pigeons alone for a bit and detect a way to remodel themselves, or be prepared for a flash in the pan, here today, gone tomorrow comeback tour.