Review by Farhana Alam with photography by Helen Williams

On Friday, I postponed binge-watching Stranger Things 2 to go and review The Pigeon Detectives at Birmingham’s O2 Institute, supported by Little Comets and The Clause. But was it worth it? The initial melodrama involving a member of security staff asking me my age, and then reacting with embarrassment when I told her, was not a good start (I am more than double the 14+ age requirement for this gig). However, things seemed a bit more reasonable once I got inside.


The first support band was local indie band, The Clause, which comprises a quartet of teenage school friends from Solihull. They cite Arctic Monkeys as one of their influences and, without any prior knowledge of this, that influence is palpably audible in their music. The band drew energy from the fact that several of their friends were in the audience, making enough noise to counteract the relative emptiness of the venue at that early point in the evening.


Next up was Newcastle band, Little Comets. They’ve been releasing music since 2009, but I only recognised one of their songs; ‘Dancing Song’ (which I later discovered was used in a television advert a few years ago). I initially didn’t like how the band sounded because they reminded me of The Kooks, but vocalist Michael Coles’ changeable voice made some of the later songs in the set a bit more tolerable. For me, their standout songs were ‘Bridge Burn’ and ‘Joanna’. The audience appeared to enjoy the set, but perhaps indie-pop just isn’t my thing anymore, except for the purposes of nostalgia.



Throughout the support bands’ sets, the stage was lit only from behind, giving it quite a gloomy appearance, but as soon as The Pigeon Detectives exploded onto the stage, the shadows dissipated. Life as a Pigeon Detective requires huge amounts of energy; there are no slow songs and vocalist Matt Bowman is – for want of a better word – bonkers! Despite having a leg injury, he jumped around the stage the entire time. The second song in their set was their first single (from a decade ago!), ‘I Found Out’, which had the entire audience dancing and singing along. In fact, the entire set felt like we’d exited the current day and gone to our own time-warp version of The Upside Down, where it was 10 years earlier and still the era of the indie bands. Bowman commented, “10 years! I bet some of you have got married, or have children now.” Indeed, the demographic of the audience was very mixed, but definitely no longer the youthful crowd that had been watching The Clause, and the venue was completely packed by now. Nostalgia can do that.






The set was made up of a mix of old and more recent material, but it was the former that got the biggest reactions from the crowd, with sing-alongs to ‘Take Her Back’ and ‘Everybody Wants Me’, whilst Bowman repeatedly threw his microphone up into the air with the cord trailing like a ribbon, catching it deftly upon its descent. Despite that leg injury, he climbed up onto a stack of speakers for ‘This Is An Emergency’, prompting the glare from a sea of phone cameras. The set ended on a high with ‘I’m Not Sorry’, leaving everyone feeling buzzed from all the theatrics and dazedly re-entering the real world.



For more great images from tonight’s gig visit our Flickr page.

One Response to “The Pigeon Detectives + Little Comets + The Clause @ O2 Institute, Birmingham – 27th October 2017”

  1. The Pigeon Detectives + Little Comets + The Clause @ O2 Institute, Birmingham (27th October 2017) – Farhana Alam Says:

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