The Pigeon Detectives / The Hot Melts

Carling Academy, Glasgow on Fri 16th May 2008

For a band who generate as much division between the acolytes of the music industry, The Pigeon Detectives, with their dumb/simplistic songwriting (depending on which side of the fence you're sitting on) have managed to carve a niche in the business' food chain that is proving to be exceptionally popular. One look at the sold out British tour dates is all you need to back this up.

It's rare for a band to feel the need to play two dates in Glasgow, it's even more rare for a band to sell out both of the said dates as quickly as this band have done. Like their feathered brethren they are also hard to ignore when walking down the street, as they blare at festival like volume out of high street clothing chains. Simply have the radio on Radio One or XFM for more than an hour and you will hear the press machine working overtime on new album 'Emergency', playing single (and semi title track) 'This Is An Emergency', seemingly constantly.

First up however are Liverpool power-pop four piece The Hot Melts, who reside on ex-Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitzs' infamous/legendary Epitaph Records, are a great example of that labels' diversification over the years, a move which has been well discussed and oft-criticised. They mirror The Detectives in the way that they write melodic, guitar driven pop, but it really ends there, in that there are none of the distinguishing hallmarks of the 'Pigeons 'New Yorshire' sound. They're double harmony attack on opener 'My Sweetness Is Making Me Ill' is so reminiscent of Wildhearts spin-off, Honeycrack, that I'm hastily taken back to my bedroom in 1996.

The Hot Melts
'Depressed, Oh Yes', is a fairly memorable number with a charming little hook line, but is tainted with echoes of Busted. However, the Liverpudlians play a well oiled, bouncing set and manage to warm up the audience enough to convert a sizeable portion of the standing area, even if the bar is still steeped in cynicism. Anticipation either has a smell or some kind of indescribable tangible quality, for the air is thick with it.

By now the venue is packed to the gills with New Look fashion wear and trendy haircuts. In fact, I now know what anticipation smells like. On this night, anticipation smells like 'Blue Jeans' and 'Joop!' in a Semi-Chem tango. When I say the air is thick, I mean that it is so warm in this building that sweat was condensing into a cloud of humidity. Just before the band make their way to the stage, a girl is lead out, unconscious, on a stretcher by the paramedics. "Stop trying to steal the show!" says a random voice, "Stop ruining it for the rest of us!" says another, both of which are fantastic examples of Glaswegian empathy.

The Pigeon Detectives

Starting with what will likely be one of the most played songs of the summer, The Pigeon Detectives are greeted like heroes when 'This Is An Emergency' begins it's chanty strains. Rapturous applause follows, then at break neck pace, barely allowing breathing time, Matt Bowman bellows "Goin' aout wih, Goin' aout wih" and the crown respond in kind launching into yet another radio behemoth. I feel like I'm being bludgeon by this band, brainwashed through extensive marketing. Thing is, I go to the bar and turn round with my pint and lose track of where we are in the set... it's just all over so fast.

Bowman,who leaps around the stage like every jump or every monitor hop could be his last, puts in one of the most energetic frontman performances you could witness, whilst the band work solid and polished. Collectively, they have an agenda. Their sights set firmly on their goal, which is presumably to provide one solid hour of non-stop, drinking soundtrack, entertainment at an unprecedented pace. That much they achieve. However, it's akin being extremely hungry and only having chewing gum. Moreover, there's very little dynamic, one shouty sing-along-song melds into the next shouty sing-along-song. Each lasting an uncomplicated two to three minutes. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that this particular niche is more than a little... over populated. Saturated? Probably.

What is impressive though, is their ability to consistently produce such a volume of material that succeeds in the execution of their formula. Obviously, something about this formula works rather well, or the ticket sales wouldn't be as voluminous as they are. It is no muss, no fuss, entertainment and that couldn't be more evident than when 'I'm Not Sorry' sears into gear and takes the crowd to an almost orgiastic frenzy. Drenched in sweat, the band leave the stage. There's no encore milking, no long thank you speeches. The house lights come up and people turn to leave. It could be possible that the 'all business' attitude is due to the after show party night the band are hosting in the venue's upstairs bar, but it's more likely that ball of energy was intended as is. Most may have felt cheated, personally I was exhausted.

The Pigeon Detectives

Set List:

I Found Out
You Know I Love You
Stop Or Go
I'm Not Gonna Take This
Keep On Your Dress
Don't Know How To Say Goodbye
Nothing To Do With You
Romantic Type
Better Not Look That Way
Can't Control Myself
Say It Like You Mean It
Caught In Your Trap
Making Up Numbers
Take Her Back
I'm A Liar
You Don't Need It
I'm Always Right
Wait For Me
I'm Not Sorry

article by: Ross Gilchrist

photos by: Louise Henderson

published: 20/05/2008 16:53


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