Tuesday’s Rock Over London showcase at Bowery Ballroom featured three UK acts, all with very different sounds. The sold-out show was a warm-up for South By Southwest, happening this week and next in Austin.

The night started with a quiet, acoustic set by anti-folk musicians Emmy The Great (a collaboration between Londoners Emma-Lee Moss and Euan Hinshelwood, who were accompanied by a violinist on a few songs). Emmy The Great’s songs, with their catchy rhymes, offer thought-provoking lyrics on varied themes, some controversial and some age-old (as in love and broken relationships). The set was punctuated humorous banter from Emma-Lee, providing a bit of a respite from the seriousness of some of the lyrics. Songs included “We Almost Had A Baby,” “MIA” (with a reference to the British rapper, M.I.A.)” and “War.”

The volume kicked up a bit with the anthemic big sound of Your Vegas. The band, who hail from Leeds but currently reside in New York, will release their first full length later in the spring. Your Vegas performed songs from that as well as from the 2007 debut EP, A Town and Two Cities. Included in the set were “Birds of Paradise” and “Until the Lights Go Out,” the latter with beautiful swirling guitars that reference a certain 1990s UK sound.

Headliners The Pigeon Detectives kicked off their frenetic set of punchy, upbeat songs with “Romantic Type”, the opening track on their 2007 debut album Wait For Me. Fans were also treated to a few new songs, “I’m a Liar” and “This Is An Emergency,” from the forthcoming sophomore album, Emergency, also due out in late May.

The band’s enthusiasm was equally matched by the crowd’s, with the audience dancing as much as the lead singer (“It’s called bouncing”), and with what seemed like the whole room singing the line “going out with” from the chorus of “I Found Out.” And though not unexpected, the floor turned into an outright mosh pit for “Take Her Back.”

Matt, The Pigeon Detectives’ singer, continued the evening’s comedic banter, managing to squeeze in some pretty humorous quips between singing, bouncing around onstage and spraying the audience with water. After the first song, he introduced the band by simply stating “We’re The Pigeon Detectives,” but when he repeated it with an expletive thrown in, the crowd cheered loudly, prompting him to say “It’s so easy, you just gotta swear a little and people cheer.” At one point, when some people yelled “take it off,” he responded “Take my clothes off? That would not be entertaining” and then joked that the guys from Your Vegas were “good looking guys” from “a selective gene pool!”

The Pigeon Detectives finished off with their first single, the 2006 hit “I’m Not Sorry,” and again the fans went wild. At the end, Matt, who was now wearing the soccer jersey that someone tossed onto the stage, took a dive and surfed the crowd.

With the sound and tempo having crescendoed from the first act to the last, the evening ended with a very different energy than when it began, though it was quite pleasant all the way through.

–Teresa Sampson, Photos by Tear-n Tan

  1. Teresa, my daughter and I were right behind you during this show, at least until all the “bouncing” started. We thought it was a great show. Being up close is definitely the way to go. The PD’s have the knack for writing sing-along, punch-the-air songs that seem to be more in favor among the Brit set.

    Glad we had a chance to talk and discover your web mag. I checked out Tear-n Tan photos and enjoyed the collages on her site.

    Russ Blatt


  2. Russ,

    Thanks for the feedback, and it was nice chatting with you, too. Hope to see you and your daughter at more shows.