Few bands are as reliable as Doves, this we know. We're not holding out (or in any way hoping for) a number one smash hit - as long as they're making albums that are decent enough to justify gigs in venues the size of the Ulster Hall, we're more than happy. In fact, on Sunday, we're ecstatic.
Each gig is slightly better, simply because every record they release has another handful of sparkly little gems. 'Pounding' and 'Snowden' are as majestic as ever, while 'Words' remains, for this reviewer anyway, Doves' finest moment to date. These are songs built to shake up a slightly worn-out, slightly older Sunday evening gathering.
Tracks from 'Kingdom of Rust' sit comfortably among past glories, opener 'Jetstream' and the subtly massive-sounding title track in particular. The four men onstage may be as scruffy and un-rockstar like as ever (to the point an ATL presenter once compared their style to that of binmen in an interview), but they are incredible musicians. Furthermore, a wonderful light show and a big screen (even if it does totally drown out that famous organ) finally make up for any lack of onstage charisma. The visuals add a great deal - that kid's adventure during 'Black and White Town' and stock footage of the Wigan Casino for 'Here it Comes' will stick in our minds for a while yet.
Having Doves back in our lives is a source of great comfort. They shouldn't be allowed to go away.