Giggin’ for the First Time

I think an important thing for a music lover to do is to share their first gig experience with their fellow peers.

And that’s exactly what I intend to do. Picture this: a 16 year old me, relatively new to the band made music scene altogether. Before I had been (mistakenly) listening to House music, with the occasional bit of Drum and Bass to spice things up a little. But now, with the infinite power (for only a fiver a month) that I had acquired through the discovery of Spotify Premium, I had begun finding the magic of the guitar solo. The beauty of the drum fill. The deep groan of the bass guitar. You’re picturing it now; I’m pretty new to all of this band stuff. Which meant I hadn’t a clue what to expect from a gig. Don’t get me wrong, back when I was at school we had a few very average bands come in and perform songs about anti-bullying and anti-drug usage, but for some reason I don’t think I can count that.

However, talk about an upcoming concert at the Wedgewood Rooms down Albert Road was bouncing around my college. It seemed that every one of my friends was talking about it. “Have you heard The Pigeon Detectives are coming to the Wedge!?” Sorry, who? Not to show off, I was aware of the Wedgewood Rooms as a venue. Even more impressively, I understood “Wedge” without having to ask. But, who? The Pigeon Detectives? To me that sounded like a group of men suffering a mid-life crisis with an ambition to find murderous bird rodents. Nonetheless I played it off cool. “They’re not really my kind of music, sorry.”

Yet without hesitation, on my boring bus journey home, I whipped out my phone. I sat there, curiously opening the Spotify app. I typed “The Pig-” before it knew what I wanted. There they were, sat at the top of my searches with that cocky verified tick next to their name. 6.5 million hits on their Number 1 song: “Take Her Back.” That was the one I clicked first which sparked my memory; I had definitely heard it before. A decent tune I thought. Similar to a lot of modern indie rock that was released in the mid noughties, but I enjoyed it all the same.

After listening to a few more of their songs, I enjoyed the music. At the time they had just released a new album called ‘Broken Glances’ which aroused my interest with a few belters. But it didn’t make me want to buy a ticket to the gig. Whether this was because I hadn’t been to a gig before or just because I was a tightass earning £5 an hour, I’m unsure.

That was until the next day at college, anyway. “I’ve just bought a ticket to The Pigeon Detectives” was what my mate told me. Oh fantastic, another one of them going. Another one to babble on about it. “Come with?”

“What?” He wanted me to go with him? I didn’t want to the night before, but because it was him asking I had a different perspective. I felt as if it would be a laugh if we went together, and after all, I liked the Pigeon’s music.

“Come with?” Now not to make myself seem easy, but I went and brought myself a ticket after he lightly persuaded me for a couple of minutes. And that was it, a week later I would be going to my first gig. I promise, I’m not easy.

So there I was. Albert Road on a cold winters day, stood outside of the Wedgewood Rooms in a queue of which seemed to be never-ending. I had a big jacket on so I could have cans of cider in each pocket, because apparently smuggling alcohol into venues was what the cool kids did (but I was just grateful for the warmth.) Embarrassingly I had lost my ticket, but a hormonal rage the night before pushed my mum to phone up the venue for me. It turned out I didn’t need it as there was a guest list. Fancy.

After checking in, my mate and I stood in the centre of this darkened hall questioning what to do with ourselves. You could have spotted the gig virgins from a mile away. We decided that moving closer to the front was a good idea after remembering our female friends swooning at the idea that they got ‘barrier’ at a Justin Bieber cringe-fest.

We were near the front in what seemed to be a half full venue. Unaware of the concept of a warm up band, it took us a few seconds to realise that these people now on the stage were not who we paid to see. The biggest give away was when the just-about-post-pubescent singer screeched “WE ARE NOBODIES BIRTHDAY!” Was this a gig for weird named bands? I wasn’t sure. One thing I was sure of though, was that Nobodies Birthday were shit. Moving on…

The second warm up band were called Franklin. Half expecting an elderly man to walk onto the stage and fully hoping that he would perform ‘Rap God’ immaculately, I was disappointed to see a group of young men enter instead. However, I was blown away by them. They mixed synth and computer generated bass with fantastically coordinated instruments, all topped off with a gravelly lead voice. It was something else, and this wasn’t even the main event! Here I’ve linked Franklin’s Spotify account; I suggest you check them out:

Now, the big boys were about to come on. I was losing breath. Not because I was overly excited, but because there were two 6 foot fellas restricting me to a single square centimetre of space. It was busy in there now, but I was ready. My mate was ready. The Pigeon Detectives were ready. The Northern 5-piece strutted on as if they were the lost Gallagher brothers and quickly took to their places. Moments later I was experiencing my first of many mosh pits of the evening.

“I FOUND OUT YOU’RE GOING OUT WITH HIM!” were the words that lead singer Matt Bowman managed to sing before epically falling off of the stage, hitting the ground, and rapidly bouncing back up. He played it off well though and managed to give me a memory that I will cherish for life. The Pigeon’s lasted about an hour, which wasn’t bad considering they must all be pushing forty nowadays. I loved every second of that night; the atmosphere, the reverberating bass shaking my heart into arrhythmia and most of all the close-quartered yet friendly combat between the crowd. I must have sweated a gallon of bodily fluids and nearly thrown up my poorly timed dinner on a few occasions, but hey, that’s gigs for you right?

You never forget your first gig. If you like an artist’s music and they’re touring near you, then get yourself a ticket. There is nothing like live music. And if you’ve never been to a concert before, don’t panic. Maybe you can be converted like me, a now full time addict. I repeat, there is nothing like live music.

Bowman at the Gig
The Stage at the Wedge




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