Live: The Pigeon Detectives / Ellur / Youth Killed It

The Pigeon Detectives make it a night to remember (Picture: Lee Harper)
The Pigeon Detectives make it a night to remember (Picture: Lee Harper)

Epic Studios, Norwich November 13, 2023

by Paul Hammerton

A cold Monday night sees an interesting line-up of bands competing with The Streets’s appearance elsewhere in the city, and when local outfit Youth Killed It take to the stage the venue is already well-filled.

Hailing from Mile Cross and Old Catton, the openers defy categorisation with their London rap/grunge/Streets vibe.

He kills it: Jack Murphy (Picture: Lee Harper)
He kills it: Jack Murphy (Picture: Lee Harper)

Frontman Jack Murphy oozes confidence and the sound and technical ability of the band is remarkable for an opening act.

They make good use of backing tracks and samples, such as Underworld’s Born Slippy and Michael Caine in The Italian Job, and they deserve a higher profile in their home city.

Youth Killed It deserve a bigger profile (Picture: Lee Harper)
Youth Killed It deserve a bigger profile (Picture: Lee Harper)

Ellur offers something completely different, with the Halifax-based singer-songwriter appearing with an all female-backing band.

Her powerful voice instantly quietens the crowd, and she performs with confidence (if not the swagger of Youth Killed It).

Ellur provides a change of pace (Picture: Lee Harper)
Ellur provides a change of pace (Picture: Lee Harper)

She starts slow and ethereal, but the more upbeat songs such as Moments are more enjoyable.

Although it can be hard to fully appreciate songs on first hearing, Ellur surely does enough for many of the audience to check out her material further.

The Halifax singer will have won some new friends tonight (Picture: Lee Harper)
The Halifax singer will have won some new friends tonight (Picture: Lee Harper)

Both support acts name-checked the headliners a bit too often during their sets, but such is the aura of The Pigeon Detectives.

When they take to the stage, the atmosphere is electric. They open with Falling To Pieces from the recently released TV Show and then explode into This Is An Emergency, which really gets things going.

Matt Bowman of The Pigeon Detectives (Picture: Lee Harper)
Matt Bowman of The Pigeon Detectives (Picture: Lee Harper)

The band have been regular visitors to the city over the years, first appearing in 2007, and they are clearly happy to be back. And when frontman Matt Bowman tells us how lucky we are to have a venue such as Epic, his jibes at the facilities of The Waterfront are delivered with a nostalgic affection.

The set is a well-judged blend of tracks from the new album and others mainly from their first two albums, and it caters perfectly to the diverse age distribution of those here tonight. A good-size mosh pit develops while others are happy to hover on the fringe, and new and old songs go down equally well.

The set is the perfect mix of old and new (Picture: Lee Harper)
The set is the perfect mix of old and new (Picture: Lee Harper)

It’s easy to forget just what a great frontman Bowman is. His energy and the gymnastic suppleness of his flying kicks are unchanged.

The stage crew are constantly put to work rearranging monitors that have been leapt upon and mic stands that have been discarded.

However, there is time for some restraint. Nothing To Do With You played on acoustic guitars and filmed on the mobile phone of birthday girl Poppy is a moving moment.

There's a special connection with the fans (Picture: Lee Harper)
There’s a special connection with the fans (Picture: Lee Harper)

The band are genuinely fond of their followers, and a fan on the rail sporting a Pigeon Detectives tattoo is told to help himself to anything off the merch stall.

The main set closes with the mass singalong that is Take Her Back, and they humorously play the game of milking the adulation before returning for a rousing encore.

Water 'bout that, then? (Picture: Lee Harper)
Water ’bout that, then? (Picture: Lee Harper)

It’s unusual nowadays for a band to retain the original line-up for 17 years, and long may they continue to stick together.

And on tonight’s showing, they will always be welcome back to Norwich – particularly after Bowman’s quip that “We hate Ipswich almost as much as you”.

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