Live Review: The Pigeon Detectives at the O2 Ritz in Manchester

Meg Roberts describes her recent trip down memory lane, reviewing The Pigeon Detectives latest show at a sweaty and raucous O2 Ritz in Manchester

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 18th Oct 2021

Review Rating: 5/5


Let us start by saying this - Matt Bowman is a brilliantly wild frontman that gives his absolute all when performing live. A self-proclaimed dancer according to his personal Twitter bio. We can’t argue with that, Matt.  

Not for one minute did it feel like just another night on the tour, playing the same old tunes they'd played before. We’ve heard a lot of good things about their live shows and let us tell you, after being postponed like countless others due to COVID, this one was definitely worth the wait, ten times over.  

Queues were still going strong down Whitworth Street well after 8 pm and once inside, space was hard to come by as the venue neared capacity. Tonight’s show (Thursday 30th September 2021) was originally pencilled to take place back in May 2020. It felt as though the energy of everyone in the room had been bottled up and stored ever since, and who better to shake us up and finally let us go than Bowman and band. 



From the moment they came on, the Leeds five-piece wasted no time in dialling up the Manchester crowd as they opened with the ever catchy ‘Romantic Type', continuing to work the audience all the same with a whistle-stop tour of their biggest and best hits to date. We were promised a night full of indie bangers and that is exactly what we got. Fan favourites like ‘Take Her Back’ and ‘I Found Out’ were our personal highlights, and the encore ending on ‘I’m Not Sorry’ was a real buzz.  

Throughout the night, the crowd’s enthusiasm never waned as Bowman kept the crowd entertained with his wacky style of showmanship. The man literally did not stop and if you weren't in the mood, you'd be forgiven for feeling exhausted just watching him bounce and flail endlessly around the stage. He clearly feeds off the crowd and enjoys being in the moment as much as the fans do. He later said that playing Manchester's O2 Ritz was akin to having Christmas with divorced parents, and we believed him. Double everything.  


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To tell the truth, that kind of high energy is everything we’ve missed out on and exactly what we needed following the lack of live music over the past eighteen months. Is there any better feeling? The whole experience was something else. From the infamous bouncy dance floor at The Ritz and the hundreds of sweaty bodies upon it to the pints of Red Stripe that flew overhead... Even Bowman joined in on the fun, watering the crowd on more than one occasion. Thanks for that, mate. It wasn’t until later that we learned that this was a signature move of theirs and an essential part of his onstage arsenal. Not only did we leave feeling like we’ve been to a Pigeons gig, but we definitely left looking like it too. If that’s not a sign of a good night, we don’t know what is. 

Manchester and much of the tour was a sell-out success and we understand why. Our northern lads put on a great show, as they are well known to do. We just can’t imagine that any Pigeons fans, old or new, left disappointed tonight. It goes without saying that there were cheers aplenty when the crowd learned the band were back in the studio recording for their next record. 



The very same year they released their fifth studio album, Broken Glances, the band announced a two-year break and haven’t put anything out since. So, it was great to hear they're now back in action and doing what they do best. We should all be excited for what is to come and I personally look forward to listening to album number six. 

Tonight the crowd was full of smiles, dancing and singing along in pure nostalgic bliss. Take us back to simpler times. We’re talking pre-2010s indie guitar rock, boys with curly hair, leather jackets and skinny jeans. Let’s have a good ol' singsong. Despite how many years have passed since their brilliant 2007 breakthrough album, Wait For Me, it still always surprises me just how many songs I know. The words came easy and raucously every time. For one night, we weren’t twenty and thirty-something millennials, we were sixteen again, losing our minds to our favourite kind of indie music. What a gig! 

A band made for touring who come into their own when performing live on stage, make sure you get to see them at one of their upcoming live shows because boy, is it a hell of a lot of fun.


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Before the year is out, you can catch them in Scotland headlining the Saturday night slot at EH6 Festival, where they join an incredible lineup of acts performing across three days and ten venues in Edinburgh. They're also performing at Pressure in Kilmarnock, not far from Glasgow, on Friday 26th November and will be supported by some extra special guests as they celebrate fifteen years together - a night to remember!  


Grab tickets for The Pigeon Detectives live in concert, below...


EH6 Festival - Friday 26th - Sunday 28th November 2021 - The Biscuit Factory in Edinburgh

Buy tickets:



The Pigeon Detectives plus special guests - Friday 26th November 2021 -Pressure in Kilmarnock 

This event has been cancelled
Cancelled due to unforeseen issues




Discover more live gigs and tours happening in music venues where you, via our Gig Guide. Click or tap - HERE - for tickets and more...




Header image credit: The Pigeon Detectives /