Live at Cockpit on Tuesday, 11th July 2006
Yesterday, The Pigeon Detectives did a little instore thing in Jumbo at 4pm. I nipped in at three-ish to rifle through a few bits, spend money I don't have and then drop things. The place was already speckled with expectant, colourful teenagers standing about slightly aimlessly, clutching the small plastic CD sleeves that were handed out to them at last Tuesday's Cockpit gig, trying not to look quite so much like shoplifters. All wide-eyed and excitable, attempting to keep their cool (the weather shot that one). Hearts beating a little faster than is healthy. The odd ponytail and glittery bangle - fair bit of Converse, lots of polkadots, that kind of thing.
See, in the words of a gobsmacked onlooker surveying the flailing carnage and popping limbs beneath the railway arches the other day, "Fockin' 'ell, they're massive now, in't they?"
First things first, however. Last Gang sound all polished and spruced, in a still-completely-and-brilliantly-ramshackle way. This is the biggest stage we've seen them play, and what with a skinny, strung out Kristian looking all little-boy-lost, whipping his troupe of playground mischiefs into form, and a babyfaced Ritchie all bright-eyed and earnest, they look and sound like proper hopefuls. With backstreet rabble-rousers and scruffy anthems galore, they've every single reason to be.
Meanwhile, Rob out of The Holloways is a right good fiddler, y'know. I always thought this lot were marvellous, but chuck 'em alongside the sticky deep-fat-fryer heat of summer and they're an even tastier proposition, all wild and carefree drunken parties in hot fields with parched skin and straw hats and songs about being on the dole but not giving too much of a monkey's. Tea cosy on head, singer Alfie Jackson asks us to dance. We say yes. Shame about the rest of the crowd...
So! Lurching and waggling an impressive mass of frizz under the boiling lights, curly mop-topped pigeon Matthew Bowman hollers, howls and drops 't's magnificently. When he throws himself into the mesh of wet arms below, the adoration is such that, at one point, he can actually walk on them. Not surf, but literally STEP onto a ready platform of scrabbling hands and red-raw shoulders. Like Jesus, or something. Oliver concentrates studiously; stays chilled; looks a mite pissed off when some scamp runs off with his guitar lead, which is kind of an important component, really. Ryan smiles, quietly happy. Dave stares agog with his mouth hanging open a bit, like a child disbelievingly accepting a train set on his birthday, before (probably) thinking "Oh my Christ" when another fourteen-year-old sails into his face. There are around sixty of the buggers onstage now, y'see, and god only knows where drummer Jimmi has got to because we haven't even been able to see Matt for the last three songs, and he's the frontman.
So, despite the young 'uns getting abittoocarriedawayfortheirowngood, and ultimately spoiling the atmosphere by launching a 'Let's Entirely Steal The Pigeons' Thunder Even Though They've Asked Us Nicely To Stop Stagediving For Safety Reasons At Least Five Times Now' assault, er... oh, I lost my sentence. Yeah, regardless of the hysterical kerfuffle, the Rothwell lads pack a tight, shiny barrel of a show with explosive nuggets of song and then hit 'FIRE'. And fire hits, as sure as anything, right into yer face. Playing themselves to a sweaty death, it's just one tough-talkin', bit-champin' rampage after another, Mr. Best on bass stealing the show with his bark of "GOIN' OUT WITH! GOIN' OUT WITH!" and running for the mic like he's gonna eat it.
Best. Line. Ever.