It was clear to see tonight at Leeds University just how popular The Doves have become judging by the packed crowd all fervently anticipating the arrival of the new super group of Britain. This gig had sold out months ago and this tour was about promoting their new album 'Some Cities'. It's clear that The Doves have evolved from strength to strength from the early days of Sub Sub, during the Hacienda dance revolution, to well crafted original song writers that certainly have their own distinct Doves style.
The energy tonight wasn't as calming as I would have expected. From the legacy of Manchester music like The Stone Roses and Oasis the expectation of the evening was highly energised to satisfy those crappy weeks with a night to remember. The Doves being a Manchester trio have created songs that appeal to the soul, and for me, inspire reflection and contemplation rather than instant gratification. The beer fuelled crowd wanting to mosh seemed wasted on this type of music but I guess that's what happens when you are promoted by the music industry and everyone wants to see the current 'big thing'.
They started the set with tracks from their second album 'The Last Broadcast' that was well received and well recognised. Some of the classics from that album 'There Goes The Fear' and one of my favourites 'New York' sounded really good live, just like the recordings. Then tracks from their new album delighted the crowds and about four tracks from the first album 'Lost Souls' were played. What impressed me about the set was that they played all the stand out tracks on all their albums with energy and soul that captivated the audience. A good strong hour and twenty minutes set with 'Caught By The River' as the last track on the night. A resounding victory in the eyes of their fans.
It was hard to gage whether they had a good night. There was the odd comment made by Jimi Goodwin (bass, vocals, guitar) about the lighting and the appreciation for the fans to come down. Otherwise they pretty much got on with their job and played the set note perfect. I heard on their last tour they played a 'Ain't No Love, Ain't No Use' from the Sub Sub days that would have been a cool twist to the performance. Friends that were with me who didn't know too much about The Doves thought the gig was good, as fans were very impressed. As for myself not being a devout Doves fan thought the music would have been better suited to a festival environment rather than a sweaty, slightly aggressive atmosphere, and I also always like to see a bit of improvisation at live gigs. However the music sounded good, they expressed a positive energy and I felt happy to see this talented band at their peak.