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The Pigeon Detectives are an English indie rock[1] band from Rothwell in Leeds, West Yorkshire, who formed in 2004.[3] They performed at the Reading and Leeds Festivals in 2006, where they were tagged "the band most likely to leap to the main stage in 2007" in an NME review. The band returned to the festivals in 2007 and again performed on the NME stage.[4]

The Pigeon Detectives
The Pigeon Detectives.jpg
Background information
OriginRothwell, West Yorkshire, England
GenresIndie rock[1]
Years active2004[2] – present
LabelsCooking Vinyl, Dance to the Radio
MembersMatt Bowman (vocals)
Oliver Main (guitar)
Ryan Wilson (guitar)
Dave Best (bass guitar)
Jimmi Naylor (drums, 2005-Present)
Paul Spooner (drums, 2004)



Band nameEdit

Speaking about the band's name, the drummer Jimmi Naylor said: "I never liked the name at first. But it's stuck– and it's probably got us more attention having a silly name. The band were just discussing band names and he came up with 'The Pigeon Detectives'. It became an in-joke but we thought nothing of it. But when it came to our first gig in Leeds the promoter was saying, 'What's your name?' We were like 'Oh, um... "The Pigeon Detectives".'"[5]

When asked by BBC Sound about the name, Naylor said, "Dave breeds pigeons, and there's a pigeon that lives in a shed, thats his special pigeon, and this pigeon actually writes all the songs".[6] Another story about the band's name was proposed when Matt Bowman and Ryan Wilson were interviewed for Later with Jools Holland;[7] Bowman said that he and Wilson have a tradition of having Christmas dinner together and when they pulled the cracker they found the name in there. When asked about the Leeds Festival rumour Bowman denies it and said, "There's also a rumour that there's a giant pigeon at the bottom of our garden that writes all the lyrics, but that's equally as untrue."

According to Bowman's Twitter, the band is in fact named after a 1970s French cartoon.[8]

Soccer AMEdit

The band have appeared on the football based entertainment show Soccer AM on four occasions. On the 2007 Christmas Day special, they became the first band to play in the Soccer AM studio, playing the singles "I Found Out" and "I'm Not Sorry".

During the same episode, Bowman announced that he had suffered a fractured heel bone, after jumping off a set of speakers while performing at Manchester Academy.


Wait For MeEdit

The Pigeon Detectives are signed to the independent label Dance To The Radio with whom their first album, Wait for Me, was released on CD, 12" heavyweight vinyl and digital download on 28 May 2007. The album, recorded in autumn 2006, was produced by Will Jackson and was recorded in the band's home town of Leeds.

An early version of the album was leaked to underground music download sites on the internet on 11 April 2007. The album entered the UK Top 40 chart at number 3, achieving Gold status soon after release.

On 14 August 2007, the band appeared on the Jo Whiley show and performed their current single "Take Her Back" and a cover of Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" in the Live Lounge

In July 2007, the band also played at Oxegen, an Irish festival in County Kildare, and again in July 2008. During September 2007, the band played at JerseyLive, a weekend event held in Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, which included The Fratellis and Kasabian.

In September 2007 it was announced that the Pigeon Detectives had been nominated for Best New Act at the Q Awards, but they lost out to The Enemy.[9]

The band supported Kaiser Chiefs on three of their November/December UK tour dates, including 1 December 2007 at the Manchester Evening News Arena and 15 December 2007 at Earls Court in London.[10]

A cover of the Huey Lewis and the News track "The Power of Love" appears on the Radio 1 Established 1967 compilation CD.

The band finished promoting Wait For Me and began promoting their second album, Emergency, in May 2008 with two consecutive gigs at Millennium Square in Leeds, playing to 15,000 fans over the two nights.

In July 2008, the single "I Found Out" was featured in the film Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.


In January 2008, they recorded their second album, titled Emergency, with producer Stephen Street in Monnow Valley Studios in Monmouth, Wales.[11] The album was released on 26 May 2008, entering the UK album charts at number 5. The lead single, "This Is an Emergency", peaked at number 14, their second-highest charting single. Shortly before the album's release, the Pigeon Detectives played their biggest ever shows at Leeds Millennium Square playing to over 15,000 people in two sold out shows.

In June 2008 the Pigeon Detectives had their show at the Brighton Dome filmed and later broadcast on Channelbee.

After a busy summer of festival gigs, including huge shows at Glastonbury, T in the Park and the V Festival, the band released the second single from Emergency, "Everybody Wants Me".

The band finished the Emergency promotion by playing a sold-out UK and Ireland tour and a special show at Alexandra Palace in London to 8,000 fans.

Up, Guards And At 'Em!Edit

After finishing the Emergency tour at the end of 2008, the band took a break. They had been demoing songs over the course of the year in between festival slots, the last of which was headlining the Underage Festival in London. They were also working on a new album.

In October 2009, the band recorded and released a cover of "Tainted Love" (made famous by the Leeds band Soft Cell), with all proceeds going to charity to help neglected children in Leeds.[12]

The Pigeon Detectives toured as special guests with the Manchester band James in December 2010.[13]

The band's third album, Up, Guards and at 'Em!, was recorded in Brooklyn, New York, with producer Justin Gerrish in summer 2010 and was released on 4 April 2011, with the lead single being "Done In Secret". The album peaked at number 30 in the UK charts, making it the band's third consecutive top 40 album. The band followed the album with two successful UK and Ireland tours, a European tour and a main stage appearance at the Reading and Leeds festival sharing the stage with The Strokes and Pulp.

The band toured Europe and Scandinavia in February 2012 to promote the album, as well as playing at Bingley Music Live on 1 September 2012.

We Met At SeaEdit

The band released their fourth album, We Met At Sea, on 29 April 2013. The band went more back to basics, they decided to record the album in their home town Leeds[citation needed]. They recorded it with local producers Matthew Peel and Andrew Hawkins at Cottage Road Studios. Throughout 2013 the band toured the UK, northern Europe and Russia promoting the album, and played a series of festivals including Belladrum Festival, Kubana Festival (Russia), Brownstock Festival and V festival '13.

On 3 May 2014, at Leeds United's annual end of season awards where the Pigeon Detectives played a set, Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino joined the band on lead guitar for a cover version of Jimi Hendrix's song Hey Joe.[14]

Broken GlancesEdit

On 24 February 2017, the band released their fifth studio album, Broken Glances. The band then embarked on a UK tour in March of the same year in support of the record. Support came from Franklin, The Tiny Minds, Autopilot and Nobodies Birthday. The band also played a in their hometown for 2017's Live at Leeds before opening the Leeds Festival in August.



  1. ^ a b "Pigeon Detectives Plan New Single: New Material Planned". Clash. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
  2. ^ " Meets The Pigeon Detectives". YouTube. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  3. ^ BBC Leeds, LOCAL BANDS: The Pigeon Detectives, November 2004
  4. ^ "Pigeon Detectives fulfil hype, but Zimmers on a roll". Reuters. 4 June 2007.
  5. ^ "NME News The Pigeon Detectives reveal truth about 'silly' name". Nme.Com. 10 September 2007. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Switch - Sound". BBC. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  7. ^ "BBC Two - Later... with Jools Holland". 31 May 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Matt Bowman on Twitter: By album 3 should I really be getting asked the question "where does the band name come from"? For the last time, it's a 70's French cartoon". 15 March 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  9. ^ [1] Archived 11 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Diver, Mike (7 November 2007). "Pigeon Detectives: a pretty big deal / Music News // Drowned In Sound". Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  11. ^ [2] Archived 1 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Pigeon Detectives and The Cribs launch charity singles". Yorkshire Evening Post. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  13. ^ "James announce tour with the Pigeon Detectives - tickets go on sale on Friday". 20 April 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Massimo Cellino jams with the Pigeon Detectives at Leeds' end of season party". Daily Mail. 3 May 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014.

External linksEdit