The Pigeon Detectives live at Koko, London

A few Wednesdays ago I braved a First Capital Connect train journey to London to see The Pigeon Detectives for the third time, having bought tickets the previous day for their gig at Koko. After briefly glancing over the gig details, I felt like ‘Bertie Big Bollocks’ making my way up through the city. Having remembered something about Koko being situated in Camden, and assuming we’d find it easily once we arrived at our destination, we hopped on the Northern Line and got excited about stall-shopping and grabbing some crappy food from a crappy outside vender… Little did I know when arriving in Camden town that the gig venue was in fact at a previous stop, Moorington Crescent to be exact, which me and my friend had kindly taken the piss out of for looking “live”, as we sarcastically put it. So here’s a tip kids, ensure you check the address before you venture out, it’ll eliminate the risk of having to return somewhere with your tail between your legs and you best puppy dog face on. Because what do you do if you assume? You make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’, as my wise mother says.


Despite this interruption and slight detour to our evening schedule, The Pigeon Detectives were completely and utterly tantalising to my eardrums. Even better, there was a special offer on snakebites (two for £5.70 IN CENTRAL LONDON!!!). I’m not sure if it’s possible to be any happier with a cheap-for-London pint in hand, listening to good music. And extremely good music it was. They played all the classics, ‘Take Her Back’, ‘Romantic Type’, ‘I Found Out’, as well as a mixture from the new album We Met At Sea. Amidst the jumping, moshing and general pushiness, my friend and I somehow made it to the barrier. And no word of a lie… Matt Bowman, the lead vocalist, sang directly at us during ‘Stop Or Go’. There was a hand-pointing-gesture involved and everything – not forgetting a cheeky eyebrow raise from Oliver Main on guitar. I’m surprised my knees didn’t turn into Hartley’s jelly on the spot.


Anyone who’s seen The Pigeons Detectives live will know that Matt gets through about a million bottles of water. And no, he’s not just thirsty… about 90% of this water ends up in the crowd. Or it pours down, as if it were flowing from a torrential rain cloud, on the poor unsuspecting security guards keeping those crowd-surfers in check. I’ve never seen such confusion than when I asked one of the said security guards for one of the discarded water bottles that didn’t make it past the barrier. I decided to ignore his baffled looks and enter fan girl mode (yes, I realise it’s just a water bottle, but it was Highland Springs! That’s classy shit).


“Encore, encore, encore” shouted the crowd, and of course The Pigeon Detectives kindly obliged. By this time I was on my fifth snakebite and it seemed as though every song was “my favourite song in the entire world, OMG!”. Despite this, they actually finished with one of my all time favourites, blasting out ‘I’m Not Sorry’ to hundreds of people, including a bunch of moshers and a handful of crowd surfers (one guy surfed about five waves of people without getting kicked out, that’s got to be some kind of record).


Before the band headed off backstage and the crowds dispersed to the cloakrooms or tube stations and bus stops, it was time to answer the all important question: who’s gonna grab the set list?! Well, it was us of course *insert smug face here*. If you ask my friend or I, we’d tell you that Matt came to our side of the stage on purpose, and we would continue on to say that he didn’t let go of the set list until we were the ones who had the firmest grip on it. But that seems a bit far-fetched… (although completely true, I promise).


We left London town grinning like cheshire cats, parading our set list and empty water bottle. For the third time, The Pigeon Detectives have exceeded all previous expectations and completely blown me out of the water. I can truly say they are one of the best bands I have ever seen perform live, and they continue to produce some bloody amazing songs, as well as the older classic tunes. They’re recent tour is coming to an end soon, but check out their new album We Are At Sea and make it your life mission to catch them next time they grace Brighton with their presence (which will hopefully be sooner rather than later).

Written by Eliza Frost

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