The Pigeon Detectives | Electric Ballroom | 15 March 2017
Matt Bowman isn’t lacking in energy. Whether he’s doing scissor kicks off the bass drum, opening plastic bottles with his mouth before drop-kicking them into the audience, showering himself in water, crowd surfing while singing, balancing precariously on his monitors, or swinging his microphone on its lead, Roger Daltrey-style, the frontman barely stands still for 90 minutes.
He’s not lacking in charisma either, taking the piss out of bands who whinge about difficult London audiences, dangling his drenched towel just out of reach of an audience member (before handing it over), sharing drinks with the sweaty people upfront, and repeatedly thanking the pogoing, beer-lobbing, arms-raised, shouting-along fans for their ongoing support.
And, yet, none of this distracts from the songs; Bowman’s enthusiastic performance extends to his singing. Never missing a beat, he leads drummer Jimmi Naylor, guitarists Oliver Main and Ryan Wilson, swaggering bassist Dave Best, and the Electric Ballroom massive through an adrenalised, gut-punching set. Boldly kicking off the show with a brand new song, the bright ‘Enemy Lines’, Bowman and the band proceed to cherry pick the finest moments from their back catalogue – like an urgent ‘This Is An Emergency’, gobby ‘I Found Out’, confessional ‘Done In Secret’, despairing ‘Making Up Numbers’, and soaring ‘Everybody Wants Me’.
Sprinkled between such classics as nonchalant kiss-off ‘I Don’t Mind’, gutsy garage rocker ‘Romantic Type’, and the choppy punk-funk of ‘Take Her Back’, are other prime cuts from new album ‘Broken Glances’ – the dark, enigmatic ‘Wolves’, reckless groover ‘Lose Control’, and the restrained, reflective ‘A Little Bit Alone’ – all of which are received with the same excitement as the biggest hits.
Two of those biggest hits – a defiant ‘I’m Not Gonna Take This’ and jagged ‘I’m Not Sorry’ – rightfully lay claim to the encore, sounding as fresh and invigorating as they did last decade, and sending the energised masses home on a high.