Pigeonhole’s Grand Finale!
Words by Tom McGhie
Photography by Spela Cedilnik
Islington is sodden. We’re pursued down Pentonville road by the driving rain and into the Lexington which is already filling up by 7pm. There’s something joyous about being plastered with a hailstorm before entering an establishment, glowing, eyes-wide and slightly shocked.
This is set to be North London outfit Pigeonhole’s final performance, so there’s a bit of a wake feel to proceedings married to the giddy clamour that accompanies any swansong. The band has its roots dating back to 2016, embryonising during lead singer Marko Andić’s stint at Coventry University. After some time marinating in London’s primordial soup of post-punk, the band slowly morphed into a seven-person collective around frontman Andić.
Pigeonhole’s history comprised many of the facets one expects from a band making its slog around the capital. Sweaty, boozy and a bit chaotic. “We certainly did have a bit of a turbulent run at points,” recounts the band’s guitarist Jasper Eade after the show. “There were a few months where Marko and I shared a bed and did shifts on who got to sleep.” Comes with the territory - maybe the band are calling it a day just for the chance of some decent shuteye.
Shifting personnel changes and a lunacy-inducing live energy accompanied a sound reminiscent of a slightly-more-psychedelic-Fat White Family. They certainly left their mark on the scene - the deranged swagger of single Black Cat, White Cat was one of last summer’s highlights from the ‘scene’s’ oeuvre.
The band’s draw is evident in the turnout tonight - the gig’s on the brink of selling out. Inside the Lexington is a shimmering sea of faces from the post-punk community; a beautiful rabble who find their homes here, the Shacklewell, Sebright and the Windmill. A member of a very well known indie band is spotted in the gents. “Cool, man.”
Kicking off the night is sultry Italian act Kuntessa, who announces to the audience that she’s: “a lazy, lazy bitch.” Crunching beats and deep synth bass lines provide a fitting backdrop for Kuntessa’s erotic, tongue-in-cheek lyrics - “I’m here to spice up your dolce vita, baby!” The whole thing is royally entertaining and if some of the swelling crowd are initially perplexed by the bubblegum pop campness, by the end of the performance Kuntessa’s charm has won over even the most arrhythmic of cynics. It’s feelgood music from the top draw, with the groove-laden International Lovers equally capable of soundtracking a romantic holiday on the continent or a grimey 3am afters.
Next up are the Ringards, who switch the tone and introduce some agitated guitars and vocals to an almost-capacity crowd. Tight-but-loose riffs slither around anthemic choruses, while set highlight Touch Me sticks with the evening’s raunchy vibe. Between songs, the band pay homage to their outgoing-hosts with an a cappella chant of “we built this city on Pige-on-hole”. The mood ratchets up when the lead singer gets into the crowd and riles everyone up nicely. Visually interesting and armed with a varied set that intrigues without befuddling, the Ringards hop offstage after an incisive 30 minute set. Job very much done.
Back outside for a cigarette before the headliners and disarray begins to unfold. Oncoming traffic sends a Deliveroo driver off his motorbike and towards the Lexington punters spilling onto the street. People rush to his aid and friendly arms hoist him upright. Someone offers a joint. The car speeds off with a pint glass in hot pursuit while a security guard looks on helplessly.
Upstairs, Pigeonhole take to the stage to an emotional roar and launch into opener White Cat, Black Cat.
Andić paces the stage and peels off his band’s songs without a hint of loss, to the delight of the audience. During their typically ferocious set it becomes clear that this is a celebration of the band’s life. Think less state funeral and more rambunctious Irish entombment.
Although there’s a lingering “what if?”, bands like Pigeonhole aren’t designed to overstay their welcome - their brand of fiery music wouldn’t work without a gnawing sense of finality. What next then?
“I can safely say that we’ll continue to make music together,” remarks Eade. “Whether that’s anti-climatically bringing the sick dog back, or creating something new and equally hideous.”
In their final outing, the band is impressively tight - “surprising given we haven't rehearsed for about two months!” After ending with a cover of Country Teasers’ Spiderman in the Flesh, the band unplug their instruments and head off stage without a farewell speech. Onto the next.
Listen to Pigeonhole here
Check out more photography from Spela here
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