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Doves Soar

The band debut new material in London
13 September 2008 - While the Manic Street Preachers proved they can still rock out, it seems Doves have taken flight once again after three years since their last album, 2005’s Some Cities.

Celebrating 18 years of Heavenly Records, Doves were preceded by a six song strong set from the Manics – who played the songs that they released whilst under Heavenly’s wing.

But, the first gig since recording their hotly anticipated fourth album, the headliners then took to the stage of the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank last night – and with resounding success.

An older crowd of loyal fans packed into the venue, creating a pit in the stalls from the outset. No one modestly took their seats to sit back and relax while watching this Doves set, but right from the word go the whole place was upon their feet, nodding heads and sporadically launching their arms in the air with appreciation and respect.

Frontman Jimi Goodwin, a man of relatively few words, took to the stage and graciously thanked the audience for coming. He genuinely seemed thrilled to be back and was heart-warmed by the rapturous applause and whooping that grew and grew as the show went on.

He even let slip that it was their second gig in two years and seven months but this didn’t show - and within the excellent acoustic of the Royal Festival Hall, the sound was bouncing off every orifice, engulfing me so much that I could feel the drum beat thumping in my windpipe.

They showcased a lot of the new material from their new album, four to be exact, and with all of it there was never a moment when the momentum wavered as can sometimes be the case when new tracks fall on fresh ears.

The crowd was intrigued by anything new – owing to the fact that all of the fans I spoke to after the gig were dying for new Doves material to wrap their ears and minds around.

Some of it was Johnny Cash-esque, with a Western theme beat to it, while all of it contained Doves’ trademark sound of deep baselines, layered gushing guitar riffs and captivating vocals. Goodwin’s voice, often teamed with and complimented by guitarist Jez Williams’ tones, manages to be haunting at times whilst retaining a feeling of optimism.
The obvious highlight was towards the end with their anthemic and epic classics. Especially Caught By The River – which Jimi dedicated to his father Frankie Goodwin

My two favourites of the new tracks were Jetstream and Kingdom Of Rust. In the latter there was an almost dischordant, melancholic bridge at one point in the verse, which then merged into a sing-a-long type chorus full of colour.

Teamed with stunning visuals of hills merged with a rustic church interior it left me yearning to hear it again, which can only be a good thing!

The obvious highlight was towards the end with their anthemic and epic classics Caught By The River – which Jimi dedicated to his father Frankie Goodwin - and There Goes The Fear from The Last Broadcast and Lost Cities’ Black And White Town.

These were flawless, illustrating what Doves are capable of. I was seeing them for the first time and it is safe to say they have ensnared me into their trap - me and I would have thought the rest of the Doves’ virgins present.

The Manchester band make it look so darn effortless that by the end of the set, there were people almost flinging themselves from the balconies with glee they were jumping up and down so hard.

It was a truly electric atmosphere, one that I never imagined the retro, seated layout of the Royal Festival Hall would be capable of (but then I know it more for the Nutcracker ballet and classical events!). Speaking to 6 Music before the show, Heavenly’s founder Jeff Barratt said he thinks the next album could be Doves’ best yet.

And judging from last night, I think we might just be in for a BIG treat.

Set List

Winter Hill
Almost Forgot Myself
Sea Song
Jetstream Rise
Break Me Gently
Kingdom Of Rust
The Outsider
Caught By The River
There Goes The Fear


Black And White Town
The Cedar Room

Georgie Rogers

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Comments so far

Spot on write up. As a fan of a few years I loved the classics and the greta new material, can't wait for the new album. Hopefully Doves get the recognition they deserve. Glad to see them back! - Kenny

John W, London
Doves played that set at the Oxford Academy the night before the RFH gig, in fact. It was blinding. Very much looking forward to the new album, good to have them back.

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