Homecoming show sees Yorkshire's unashamedly straightforward sons leap into the big league. Millennium Square, Leeds (May 3)
Has anyone been to a Pigeon Detectives gig before?” asks Matt Bowman during a break in proceedings while an errant guitar lead is replaced. The vociferous reply is in the affirmative. “Well, you’ll know we’re not the most professional of bands then!” Perhaps not, but the leap from playing local toilet venue Josephs Well two years ago to this – 7,000 Pigeon fanciers filling their home city’s Millennium Square twice in a row over the bank holiday weekend – isn’t one any old band could make. But it’s precisely the chaotic, often shambolic nature of some of those early live shows that won them fans in the first place so the question, inevitably, is how do they translate that to this big, big stage?
As it turns out, the answer is ‘surprisingly easily’. From the opening notes of new single ‘This Is An Emergency’ right through to their biggest hit ‘I’m Not Sorry’, it’s a test the quintet pass with flying colours. In truth, they’ve been putting in stadium-size performances for some time now, particularly Bowman, who revels in this brighter spotlight. How could he not? There’s more space to run around, a higher ceiling for mic-throwing antics and more bottles of water to be thrown out into the crowd. Perfect. And despite the fact second album ‘Emergency’ isn’t out for another three weeks, the crowd laps up each and every new offering like the proverbial semi-skimmed. Highlights include ‘Keep On Your Dress’, which sees Bowman imploring his squeeze not to get her kit off (for once); ‘Everybody Wants Me’, a Killers-ish slice of anthemic guitar-pop; and, most surprisingly, the acoustic-led ‘Nothing To Do With You’. Acoustic guitars? The Pigeon Detectives? Well, we never thought we’d see it, but album number two looks like an altogether more sensitive animal than its predecessor, and all the better for it.
“Are you alright, Leeds?” asks Bowman, not for the first time. On a night when this city’s favourite new sons stepped up into the same stadium-straddling league as Kaiser Chiefs in considerable style, it’s safe to say it’s a rhetorical question.