The Pigeon Detectives, The Wallbirds, One Night Only

Paul Cook 05/11/2007

After some deliberation, taking the plunge to push to the front and wait it out for The Pigeon Detectives proved particularly worthwhile. One Night Only open the evening with their polished pop-rock tunes including repetitive but catchy toe-tapper “You and Me”. Watching the performance, it feels strange as if the audience are being treated to a look into the past, seeing something along the lines of a young Kooks teenage rehearsal. The musical style is an odd combination of folksy rock tracks and more mainstream, Holloways-esque tunes, both styles equally enjoyable but neither showing themselves to be headline material, not yet at least. Lead singer George Craig certainly has the right charisma, and there's talent here, making One Night Only a surprisingly enjoyable live act.

After the usual Waterfront interval (a long, tedious rigmarole of roadies testing each and every piece of equipment), The Wallbirds came on to top the previous act in fantastic style. Like a young Bob Dylan, Wallbirds' singer Walt Wallbird stunned the crowd for the first few minutes with the mesmerising 'new folk-rock' harmonica, guitar and vocals combination and continued to impress throughout the set. Crowd favourites included the “The Avenue”, a fast paced, quintessentially Dylan-like rock track with an infectious rhythm and “Valentine”, another catchy, slower folk ballad full of charm and warming, David Gray-style vocals.

And then it's time for the headline act. The frenetically powerful Pigeon Detectives burst on-stage with vigour and excitement, leaving over an hour later without the energy of their performance relenting - and what a venue to see it in. The intimately designed Norwich Waterfront is a 700-person capacity cupboard and the crowd no more than a metre from the stage. Kicking the night off with the first big release from debut album Wait For Me, The Pigeon Detectives give an electrifying rendition of “Romantic Type” and from here on out it's all about who can act the stupidest on-stage. The award goes to lead singer Matt Bowman who embarrassingly smacked one poor member of the crowd in the face with his mic in a manoeuvre of, albeit comically, painful consequences.

Besides this moment of madness the gig went off without a hitch and sing-along tracks “Take Her Back” and “I'm Not Sorry” proved to be particular favourites with the excitedly vocal crowd. New release “I Found Out” was also a hugely popular track with almost the entire audience shouting-along, “Going out with, I guess you're going out with!” A near-perfect performance of a very likeable list of tracks, most of which are admittedly similar in style and content, The Pigeon Detectives proved themselves to be one of the new bands to see live. Fully exploiting the fact that most of the album is seemingly designed for live performances the band delivered many of their crowd-pleasing chorus-lines and up-tempo, contemporary teen-lyrics with style and precision. The Pigeon Detectives will surely play most of 2008's festivals and from there who knows - maybe the band will reach the dizzying heights of a third album, if the second isn't a predictable let-down.