People often ask me if, after all our years of playing live and having hundreds of gigs under our belts, The Pigeons still get nervous on the night of a show.
The short answer to this is, a little, sometimes… but the way in which these nerves manifest themselves in each member of the band differs significantly.
When we were young upstarts, performing in various sweaty ‘Indie’ clubs in and around Leeds back in the good old days, nerves were never really an issue. There were certainly a few jitters present in our first few gigs, but as soon as we received our first post-gig compliments from someone who wasn’t one of our mums, we felt invincible. As our local reputation grew our inhibitions and anxieties disappeared and we couldn’t wait to get on stage and just have a laugh.
It was when things rapidly became more serious, that nerves really began to take their grasp. All of a sudden, record label representatives, music managers and radio plugger’s were attending our shows and the stakes were raised significantly. When you’re stood backstage, knowing that a great gig could result in all you childhood dreams coming true, you’d have to be a robot not to be bricking it a little bit.
As individuals, the band wrestled with these nerves in different ways. For me it was always a case of being ‘nervous/excited’. I would have a sense of giddy anxiety stewing in the pit of my gut, which would result in the production of a dangerous levels of adrenaline, making me overly yappy and animated, like an annoying puppy.
As soon as we got onstage, though, these feelings would evolve into a positive form of nervous adrenaline, which resulted in the five of us exploding onstage with pure, uncontrollable, exhilaration, energy and enthusiasm; a trait we became somewhat synonymous for.
It’s a cliché that ‘nerves are good’, but I honestly think that if you harbor them in the right way and don’t let them consume you, nerves can be beneficial when approaching live shows.
These days, The Pigeon’s don’t general get overly nervous, but the butterflies are certainly still there, especially when approaching big hometown gigs, or big festival shows and that’s healthy. I like to think after nearly 10 years gigging we have learnt how to utilize our nerves in a positive way.